Running for Mental Health

Will Bruner ’13 will run 50 miles to honor friend Quent Alcorn ’12.


On May 1, Will Bruner ’13 got in a funk after a Zoom call announcing his extended work furlough, where he logs 70- to 80-hour workweeks in New York City as a location specialist for film and TV.  

To clear his head, Bruner went for a 10-mile run and spied a dollar bill on a Bandy Field sidewalk, which got him thinking, “I’m doing all this running just to keep myself sane, why not just do something with it?”

So he called friend Christian Alcorn ’13 about a 50-mile run in honor of his brother Quent Alcorn ’12, who died in 2015. Bruner was one of 18 committed to climb Mount Rainier this summer in Quent’s honor to raise money for the Jed Foundation, a nonprofit devoted to preventing teen and young adult suicide. This year’s trek was canceled due to COVID-19 but will be replaced with a virtual climb with an altitude equivalent to Mount Rainier.

 “I’m so grateful, not only for the run and the fundraiser, but that Will volunteered his time and his energy for Quent,” Christian Alcorn ’13 said. “With the pandemic, the need is greater than ever.” 

Alcorn, who works for a law firm in Washington, D.C., plans to join Will for the final lap. “I know Will’s going to crush it,” he said.

Bruner’s May 16 run, which coincides with Mental Health Awareness Month, encompasses a five-mile loop along Grove and Patterson between Three Chopt and Malvern, a longtime cross country favorite. The singlet-clad Saint will circle it 10 times in seven hours or less, if all goes as planned.

Training involves running 10 miles twice a day with some longer runs on weekends. Since he’s gotten in shape, Bruner can knock out 10 miles, on good days, in 65 minutes. For him, running is therapy. “I have really big anxiety, and this allows me to get rid of it,” Bruner said. “It allows me to figure things out on my own, especially in this time of uncertainty.”

Bruner and Quent Alcorn became best friends participating together in the 4x800 relay, an event that he, Christian Alcorn, Will Abbott ’13 and Ben Moore ’15 set an outdoor record their senior year, breaking the 8-minute barrier (7:56). He calls Quent the best surrogate big brother a guy could have, an All-American in every sense of the word. The message of his struggle resonates: “How an individual can look so strong and successful on the outside, but unless that individual says something about it, it cannot be helped.”
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