From Smoker to Runner: UPMC X-Ray Tech Wants to Run in All 50 States

By: Martin Kinnunen

UPMC Shadyside’s Kristy Brown quit a pack-a-day smoking habit in 2010 because she wanted to run her next marathon faster and stronger.

Today, the 36-year-old x-ray technologist has exceeded that goal — and logged thousands of miles along the way.

BrownAn accomplished marathoner, whose personal best in the 26.2 mile race is 3 hours and 33 minutes, Brown  has completed 18 marathons and 30 half-marathons. She qualified for and completed the prestigious Boston Marathon, and has earned a large collection of trophies and medals.

So what’s next on her running agenda? “I want to run a marathon or half-marathon in all 50 states,” Brown explained. “So far, I have run a full marathon or a half in 19 states, plus Washington, D.C.”

It will take time and planning, but Brown believes the goal is attainable. Her supervisor, Barbara Kennedy, unit director, Cardiac Catheterization, also is confident that Brown will reach that running milestone.

“I have several serious runners on my unit, but Kristy is in a class by herself,” said Barbara, who nominated Brown for her recent recognition as a MyHealth Role Model.

Brown’s impressive times and running success are only some of the attributes that make her a MyHealth Role Model. She regularly encourages co-workers and others to give running a try. “I tell people, ‘Each time you run it’s going to get easier, and it’s OK to walk in the beginning.” said Brown, who usually runs 25 to 40 miles a week as part of a workout regimen that includes riding a stationary bike and strength training.

She is a humble, soft-spoken person who blushes easily when complimented about her athletic achievements.

“You don’t have to be special to run a marathon. I’m proof of that,” Brown said.