She used to contend for the top, and Kelly Brown likes to think there’s a little gas left in the tank for the Beach to Beacon race this weekend.

“I hope to place in the Maine age category,” Brown said. “I did it last year, and I hope to do it again this year. Of course, 10 years ago, I was always able to strive for the top three Maine women, but as you get older, you get slower.”

Three years ago, Brown received news that could have slowed her to a halt – for good. She had surgery for breast cancer.

“I only took three weeks off from running, and I attribute the quick recovery to my running,” Brown said. “It’s done so much more for me than just the racing. It’s just so beneficial.”

Brown and her husband, Scott, have been involved in competitive racing for many years, and nothing, she said, compares to rubbing elbows with the elites at the start of a race.

“To even be right next to then,” Kelly said. “Not that I’ll ever run with them, just to even see them and see how they warm up, just to be next to them is really neat.”

Kelly will fly solo this year, as Scott had hip resurfacing last spring, a process that keeps him from running for a full year.

“It was either that or never run again,” Kelly said. “So far, so good.”

For Kelly, this year’s race will kick off a more active season, something she said she’s been ready for.

“This year’s the first year I haven’t run a lot of races yet,” Kelly said. “Since (I had breast cancer), I’ve kind of dwindled in racing. I think I just needed a little break. I’m hoping to race more in the fall this year instead of doing a lot in the spring and summer.”

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