Kris Brown catches up with SBVK

Kris Brown, a self-proclaimed unprofessional runner, is usually the fastest guy you will see on Santa Barbara trails and has nabbed sponsorships with rabbit and HOKA ONE ONE. Two months ago, Kris was on arguably the biggest race podium of his life, a 3rd place at Terewera 102k in New Zealand, and just celebrated his restaurant Cubaneo’s 1 year anniversary. Shelter in place orders are hardly ideal for a competitive runner in their prime, let alone a restauranteur, but Kris does things his own way.

Thank you Kris for taking the time to answer a few questions!

Q. How are you personally effected by and coping with social distancing generally?

Obviously the social distancing protocol is not a great situation for anybody, but I think that I’m comparatively well-prepared for it. The daily rhythms of my life have been pretty inconsistent over the past several years as I’ve changed jobs and roles a bunch of times, so I’m used to switching back and forth between periods of intense work and periods with little to no activity. I actually got kind of excited for it — typically I spend a lot of time with people, both socially and professionally, and I find myself longing for time alone more than the opposite, so when it became clear that the shelter-in-place policy was going to become a reality, I immediately started compiling a list of things I’d been wanting to do but hadn’t been able to fit into my schedule.
Of course, I would love to be hanging out with friends many nights, but I’m also really stoked that I finally get to watch The Wire, and I’ve also taught myself a few songs on piano! It’s really a wild time to be alive — we’re in a pandemic that in many cases is causing a lot of pain in people’s lives, from those who come down with the virus to the overstressed healthcare workers, plus the many millions of people who are in financial peril as a result of this. But for many of us, myself included, this great dramatic event has just resulted in a kind of eerie silence that only breaks when you watch the news. 

Q. Covid-19 has upended most racing schedules, how have you been affected and how are you adapting your training plans?

I missed out on one major race (so far) to the virus. I had intended to run Georgia Death Race at the end of March, but that race was cancelled. Looking at the bright side once again, though, I was a little nervous about running that race because of a minor injury that would have potentially been aggravated by an extreme effort. Now, I get to take the proper time to fix the issue (I haven’t run in three weeks!) before starting a long build into the rest of my racing schedule, which is primarily focused on CCC (one of the UTMB races) in late August.
I think it’s pretty common for ultra runners to feel pressure to race a little too often, and I want more time between races. These things take a long time to prepare for and recover from, and in my case a proper build for an important race should realistically take half a year, so right now I’m thankful for the opportunity to do that long build without feeling like I’m missing out on the action.

Kris Brown running really far
Kris running the 2019 Western States 100m Endurance Run! Andy Cochrane

Q. You own the Tunnel Trail Strava segment by a large margin. What recommendations do you have for runners doing the SBVK Challenge?

Tunnel Trail is a unique and difficult trail, and I think there are some tricks to running it well. Specifically, there’s this odd way in that it actually gets easier the harder you push. Obviously that’s a little counterintuitive, but what I mean is that, like many technical climbs, there is a lot to gain from keeping up your momentum. If I go really slow and controlled up it, I find that the inevitable little ankle rolls and traction slips bring me nearly to a total halt, whereas when I’m pushing, I’m already onto my next step before I lose much speed. It’s almost a controlled fall forward.
So keeping in mind that it pays off to run with good energy on the technical section. I would recommend a conservative start on the road to make sure that you can leave it all on the trail. There’s even a nice little flat stretch at the top to get your breath back before hitting the last uphill road section! And about that last bit on the road … try not to think about it until you get there!

Q. Your restaurant Cubaneo has been forced to celebrate a year in business during shelter in place orders. Can you let people know the different ways they can get your awesome food?

Yes, Cubaneo is shut down for now in terms of in-house dining, but we’re still open for to-go orders! We’re not doing the usual third party delivery services like Grubhub, Doordash, etc. (and just FYI, those services rip restaurants off pretty badly, so if there’s ever an option to call directly, do it), but we are offering both pickup and delivery, which we’re managing ourselves. You can see what we’re serving and order through our website at The menu will be changing pretty often, so keep your eyes on it. 
It’s been a tough situation as a restaurant owner. While we’re lucky to be able to open in a limited capacity, we, like most restaurants, are just scraping by at best, even having laid off our entire staff. It seems like we’re going to be able to put together rent for a few months and come out the other side of this, but it’s going to be a tough stretch of time, and we’re really looking forward to opening our doors again.

Who knows, maybe the state will continue to let us deliver cocktails once the shelter-in-place is lifted!

You can support Kris’s restaurant by ordering now from Cubaneo and visiting as soon as shelter in place orders lift. Cubaneo’s sister restaurant, BarbareƱo, also has a menu for takeout and groceries (I just ordered some flour, which I haven’t been able to find anywhere else!). You can follow Kris on Instagram @krisbobbrown. His sponsors are rabbit and HOKA ONE ONE.

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