CONNIE AND MATT BROWN, FRIENDS AND FAMILY, CELEBRATE HER 44TH NYC MARATHON AND 80TH BIRTHDAY AT GALA GATHERING
By ELLIOTT DENMANNEW YORK – The post-TCS NYC Marathon party, at The Perry Club in
Greenwich Village, was bold and boisterous.
As it rightfully deserved to be.
For Mrs. Connie Brown, there were 1,152.8 very good reasons.
That’s 44 times 26.2 which computes to 1,152.8 miles of
running, a streak of completing every NYCM edition since 1978, or roughly speaking, the equivalent of running from NYC to Minneapolis.
The Streak could have been up to 46 by now. Remember that NYCM 2012 was erased by Hurricane Sandy, and 2020 by the Covid pandemic – but she ran her 26.2 in 2020 anyway – just “virtually.”
Call her NYCM’s Streaker of All Streakers. On the women’s side of the list.
Toasts were thus raised by one and all there this very special Sunday night, saluting the record 44th straight NYC Marathon completion by Mrs. Brown just a few hours earlier on this perfect-running-conditions first Sunday of November 2023.
And, yes-yes-yes, November 5, 2023 - coincidentally-but-conveniently just happened to be her 80th birthday, too.
This Sarasota, Florida resident – originally from Westchester County, N.Y. - is by far the longest female “streaker” in NYC Marathon annals. The New York Road Runners keeps precise records of such things and they confirm that no other woman is even close to her 44 in a row, every darn one of them since 1978.
Just two other runners – both of the male persuasion – have “streaked” to more NYC completions than she has.
They’re David Obelkevich, who ran this one in 9:24.06, and K. Tucker Andersen, who punched in at 6:49.44. It was Obelkevich’s men’s record
47th straight, 45th in a row for Andersen.
But Connie had reached the Tavern On The Green finish line in Central
well before both of them, clocking in at 6:21.33. Of course, she was in a much bigger rush, to get it done, shower up, and head for The Perry Club party.
“It was really tremendous,” said hugely-happy-husband Dr. Matt Brown.
“People, family and friends, flew in from all over,” said Dr. Brown,
formerly of Edison Township, New Jersey – with his dental practice in nearby Perth Amboy, who is well acquainted with being in the track and field spotlight, too.
His specialties were the much shorter distances, the sprints, the hurdles and the relays. He’d snared heaps of major-meet medals on the national and international Masters track circuits. In later years, he’d stretched his vistas to join wife Connie in many a marathon, too.
Competing for the Shore Athletic Club of New Jersey, he was voted into the long-standing club’s Hall of Fame years ago. His own exploits over the years should support his own candidacy to the USATF Masters Hall of Fame.
Some day, perhaps, the Connie-Dr Matt ticket may even be a husband-wife nomination.
But this was Connie’s day.
She “went out” comfortably, reaching 10K in 1:19:25, 20K in 2:44:40, the 21.1K midway point (heading from Brooklyn into Queens) in 2:55.18, 25K ( the middle of the Ed Koch Queensboro-59th Street Bridge) in 3:33.24, the 20-mile post (in the Bronx, site of the famed but fictitious “wall”) in 4:42.35, 40K (Central Park) in 6:01.04, and cruising on home at 6:21.33 (or a comfortable 14:34 pace per mile.)
In real life. Mrs. Brown, a mom and grandmom, has been a teacher, real estate agent, and all-around athlete.
In sun-soaked West Florida, the Browns also indulge in swimming, cycling, tennis, pickleball and golf. Oh – and ther new pastime of ballroom dancing. Why all this at an age when some other seniors settle into rocking chairs?
“I guess I like endurance sports,” she’d said in an ABC-TV interview.
“When I was playing basketball, everybody wanted a substitute, and I didn’t. I just wanted to stay in and keep playing.
“And then I read a book about how good running was for you, for cardiovascular health. I was teaching physical education, so I started incorporating distance running in my curriculum. And I started meeting people in the community who were distance runners.”
One thing led to another and another and another, The rest of the story can be found in the New York Road Runners archives.
Her very first NYC completion was a 4:04.16 in 1978. Her fastest tour of the boroughs was a 3:37.54 in 1982.
Not too long after the return home from the Big City – and its Big Race and Big Party – she was back out running. And preparing for the next assignment – a Half Ironman triathlon, no less.
Back home, her calendar did not lie. It never had. The challenge of “streaking” to her 45th NYC Marathon completion was little more than 360 days down the road.