Sisters ready to show Boston pride
By RANDY GONZALES
Jen Brown is more determined than ever to run in Monday's Boston Marathon.
Brown, a 2000 graduate of Thomas More Prep-Marian High School, ran in last year's race at Boston, when terrorists detonated two bombs near the finish line. Three people were killed, and more than 200 were injured by the blasts.
"I don't really feel nervous," Brown said in a phone interview from her home in Charlotte, N.C. "It's almost a victory to come back, for myself as well I think for the entire racing community, just to take back our marathon."
Brown's younger sister, Sarah Patterson, might have been running in last year's race, too, if not for the fact she got married two days earlier. The siblings, who are avid runners and race in multiple marathons every year, both were in the 2012 Boston Marathon. Where the bombs went off last year were areas where friends and family members had been standing the year before.
"Marathon Sports, which was where the first bomb went off, was right in front of there. We go there every year we go," said Patterson, a 2003 TMP graduate who works at Hays Medical Center. "Where the second bomb went off was where my dad was standing the year before, when we were at the marathon. Had we been there (last year), we likely would've been standing around that area again."
After her sister's wedding in Estes Park, Colo., last year, Brown took an overnight flight to Boston and got there early that Sunday morning, the day before the race.
Brown had a running buddy, and they ran into each other after finishing the race, and didn't need to find each other at their designated meeting spot.
"It was just by luck that we ran into each other before going to our designated meet-up area," Brown said.
That saved about 20 minutes, so instead of still being on the street when the bombs went off, they were at their hotel, three blocks away.
Brown and her friend were in the hallway on the 30th floor when they heard a loud boom. At first, they thought an elevator crashed. Then a maid was yelling about smoke and fire.
"My friend Emma and I went down to the big picture window at the end of the hall," Brown said. "We saw the smoke; we saw the people running from that area, all of the first responders going down there."
Brown and her friend immediately called loved ones to let them know they were OK. Then, they watched the news.
"We just had the TV on for the next several hours," Brown said.
Brown, who works as a research and development scientist for a snack food company, has run marathons in 28 states and four continents -- including Antarctica. She has three continents left on her bucket list: Africa (planned for 2015), Asia and Australia.
Standing at the starting line Monday -- Patriots Day in Boston -- will be special, and not just because it will be Brown's 50th marathon.
"A lot (of thoughts), just taking back this race, for not only the racing community, but for the city of Boston," she said. "I think with this race happening on Monday, and going off without a hitch, it'll be a victory for the marathon, for the running community, for the city of Boston."