‘Kiss it goodnight’

Former OU runner Brittni Hutton won the Summit League Athlete of the Year in 2012, among other awards.

Former OU runner Brittni Hutton won the Summit League Athlete of the Year in 2012, among other awards.

By Jake Alsko

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Former Oakland University cross country and track runner, Brittni Hutton, agreed last month to join American Distance Project and compete for Adidas/Boulder Running Company, something she had long envisioned.

“Running was my true calling all along,” Hutton said. “I don’t know when I made my mind up that I wanted to run professionally, it just feels right doing what I am passionate about.”

Located in Colorado Springs, the ADP is a non-profit organization that aims to develop American distant runners for international competition.

In Hutton’s final cross country season in 2012, she won the Summit League Athlete of the Year, Summit League Individual Championship, Summit League Championship MVP and broke the OU 6K school record. 

But her success was preceded by a period of uncertainty.

Path to OU

Hutton spent her freshman year (2008-2009) at Western Michigan before transferring to Oakland Community College once she realized Western’s cross country and track programs weren’t the proper fit for her. It wasn’t until halfway through OCC’s cross country season that she finally decided to contact then-coach Tony Brocco, but it was a decision that Hutton would not regret.

“After I contacted Coach Brocco, my life changed and my passion for running slowly started to make its way back into my life,” Hutton said. “I didn’t know what I was going to do, I didn’t know what to expect when I started running for Coach Brocco, but he helped me find my path again.

“I even won some awards and broke some records. With his help, (OU cross country and track coach Paul Rice) saw me race during indoors, and outdoors.”

It wasn’t long after Rice first contacted Hutton that she was hooked to his pitch for OU, but Hutton didn’t want Rice to think she was taking his offer seriously. This poker face, however, was short-lived.

The moment

“The upper fields, the trails, the golf course, the mansion, the buildings — I fell head over heels in love with Oakland,” Hutton said. “I’ll never forget when Coach Rice said to my mom and I, in his office, that he wanted to offer me a full ride, which I wasn’t expecting, and I remember feeling a shock rush over my entire body.

“At the same time, my mom grabbed my hand and squeezed it tightly and started to cry. Unknowingly to Coach Rice, my parents had been just making ends meet, and his offer meant to my parents and I that a financial burden had just been lifted off our shoulders.”

Hutton also credits Rice with providing the guidance she needed to put her opportunity with ADP into proper perspective, which allowed her to eventually accept .

Choosing her future

“My family and boyfriend all helped me sort through my options in the best of ways, but I wasn’t able to make my decision until after talking with Coach Rice,” Hutton said. “He told me to make a list of the four-to-five most important things to me that I want from my coach and training. I did just that and that really helped.”

While Hutton is looking forward to  improving her running and meeting some of the world’s best runners in the process, she vows that her outlook will not waver regardless what comes of her upcoming professional career.

“I enjoy life for what it is and embrace the little things it has to offer,” Hutton said. “My personal quote is this: Live it up, laugh it up, dream of anything, do everything and kiss it goodnight.”