Saturday, May 14, 2011

Trail Runner Robert Brown Kills Wife with Hammer

Avid U.K. trail runner Robert Brown stands trial this week for murdering his wife with a claw hammer last October and burying her in his backyard. Sorry, I should correct that - although he admits to killing her with a hammer, he is pleading "not guilty" to murder. Not sure how that works, but there you go. I've always thought trail runners are do-it-yourself kind of people that make the most of nature, but YOWZA.

(Robert Brown, photo courtesy of Daily Telegraph)
If you've raced trail runs in the last decade, you've probably met Robert. He was a British Airways pilot, and was known to show up regularly at US races in his flight schedule in LA and San Francisco. I raced with Robert in 2004 at the Castle Rock 10-miler (soon to be a distant memory since this park is slated to close in September due to California budget cuts) and in Malibu as well, impressed with his speed and charming 007 vibe. In fact, he was the one that introduced me to Inov-8 shoes! I was surprised when the press contacted me about his case, but I guess it just shows you can only learn so much about a person on the trails.

Charlie Engle, Robert Brown...Ack! I'm turning into the gossip rag of trail running.



  1. I forgot - thanks Michael Stoddard for the tip!

  2. This is awfully flippant for a post about a domestic killing.

  3. Agree with previous comment .. stick to race reports, which are awesome. Blogging about this (in this way) is lame

  4. I never understand people using hanmmer to kill his own wife! that is very stupid act!

  5. "Well, I've always thought trail runners are do-it-yourself kind of people that make the most of nature!"

    Really, Scott? A mother had her head caved in with a hammer, her arms and hands broken while trying to protect herself, with her kids in the house listening and cowering in fear. There is NOTHING remotely amusing about this story.

  6. Just to register a mass response here, I'm posting to agree with the other Anons. Jeez, crass! (But, thanks for the otherwise good work.)

  7. Looks like Olympic Gold medalist Sammy Wanjiru also has domestic violence issues - although the result there was that he was killed when jumping out of a balcony yesterday.

    Just goes to show how pervasive domestic violence can be. Such a shame.

  8. Is there anything more smug than an anonymous commenters that agrees with other anonymous commenters?

    Wouldn't you agree? (anonymously, of course)

  9. Scott -

    Thanks for reporting on this. It's undoubtedly a tragedy, and a very serious matter. That said, I appreciate the fact that you can approach this material with a degree of levity intact, particularly as this is someone you have met and raced with. It's easy for many of us to forget, in the course of our comfortable modern lives, that such tragedies are sadly commonplace. Approaching them with our sense of humor intact makes us better able to cope and to live safer and saner lives ourselves.

  10. Scott- I've been thinking and thinking for a couple of weeks about this post, and why it upset me. It took me a long time to figure it out, but I figured I would give it a shot, even this late.

    I usually love to read your blog; it's so easy to tell how much you love running and enjoy being part of the ultra/trail running/racing community. I like to think of myself as part of the running community, too, even though I do shorter distances, and I'm way slower!

    So when I read this post, it made me think: If my boyfriend or husband killed me someday, would someone like Scott, who is a part of my community and someone I really respect, write a post about it? And would the post maybe be a little flip or joke around a bit? What am I worth to this community? It made me sad, thinking that someday, I might be a joke in a blog- especially a joke that came from a place I thought I belonged.

    I hope that makes sense.

  11. Bit late to this but I think your account is coloured by your shock at knowing a convicted killer.

    I had a different knowledge of Robert Brown - he was a neighbour of mine at the block of flats we both lived in at The Pleasance in Edinburgh around 13 years ago, and my only meeting with him resulted in me calling the police. I don't know whether I was more shocked to find out that someone with his personality traits and attitude was a pilot, or had committed murder. He actually struck me as a very volatile, uneducated and out of control person, and he left me in fear of being assaulted.

    I can only think the police didn't record this incident, as I may have been a useful witness.



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