Darien au pair to run in NYC Marathon
DARIEN — When Liam Godbert Brown isn’t running after the three boys he watches after as an au pair, he’s running.
The British university graduate came to America to work as an au pair for a Darien family last November through Cultural Care Au Pair. In addition to au pairs providing child care and exposing their families to their culture, the program aims to provide the au pairs with their own taste of American culture as well.
During their time here, the au pairs are expected to travel and take courses through a local college. But Godbert Brown took his experience to the next level by participating in some big American events. After winning a lottery for entry, he’s gearing up to run the New York City Marathon on Nov. 6, his second marathon after running the New Jersey Marathon in May.
“I’d run before, but I didn’t do it properly until this year,” he said.
Godbert Brown finds time to train on his Sundays off and when the boys he looks after are in school. He uses a Nike app to plan his training and aims to run 45 miles a week, with at least one long run a week of 20 miles. He does not focus on speed, but his speed improves the more he continues to run. He enjoys running in Darien, focusing on paths around Weed Beach, Pear Tree Point Beach and through wooded areas in Darien.
“I never had a plan,” he said. “I just went and did a lot of running.”
Godbert Brown’s athletic background did help him though. Also a swimmer, he used to do triathlons and is accustomed to running from his participation in those. He’s also a swimmer and both his parents and his grandmother are marathon runners. His father used to run competitively when he was in school.
“My dad is always telling me my times aren’t close to his,” joked Godbert Brown.
When he’s not running or working, Godbert Brown enjoys traveling. With a love of travel drawing him to working as an au pair in the first place, Godbert Brown is planning a trip to the west coast after he’s done working next month. Originally drawn to the United States after spending two summers here working at a camp on Long Island, Godbert Brown decided he liked America. He ended up getting placed with an American family after signing up for the au pair program he works for now after he earned a university degree in psychology.
“I always wanted to see to see a lot of America,” he said.
Lee Anna Whitely, who works for Cultural Care Au Pair to provide local support for au pairs and their families, said Godbert Brown is a “perfect example” of an au pair really embracing his program.
“Once in awhile an au pair will come here and do something like that,” she said of Godbert Brown’s participation in the marathon. “It’s not often, but when you get lucky enough to be able to participate in something, it’s a big deal to them and a big deal when they go back to their country. He really trained for this and we’re all going down to cheer him on.
“What a big thrill for someone from another country to run this big marathon.” she added. “When you're training for a marathon, not a lot of au pairs or anyone else can really do it. He really put his heart and soul into preparing for this.”
Godbert Brown has combined running with travel he’s done for his program. He’s run in Central Park in New York City and around Harvard University while visiting Boston with his family last April. The British native hopes to return to Boston at some point in the future to run the famous Boston Marathon. But when he’s done working and traveling in the United States, he’ll return to the United Kingdom to study social work. Godbert Brown says he knows he wants to work with kids and is considering becoming a teacher or a social worker.
But in the meantime, Godbert Brown said his focus is on his upcoming marathon, which he hopes to finish in under 3 hours and 5 minutes in order to qualify for the Boston Marathon. He finished the New Jersey Marathon in three hours and sixteen minutes. But either way, he’s ready for New York.
“I’ve done it before, so I’m ready for it,” he said. “I was worried the first time, but now I know I can do it.”
Godbert Brown is running the New York City Marathon to raise money for Shelter, a British charity that helps the homeless. For more information, go to justgiving.com/liamgb.