How We Met

I met Todd in July of 2004. I was living in Omaha, working for a small company specializing in software for the student loan industry. One of our customers was in Connecticut and I went out to teach them Java so they could customize our product. At the same time I was training for the Chicago Marathon and one of my students, Peter, knew I needed to run while I was in town. He invited me to a group run with the Hartford Track Club at the West Hartford Reservoir on Thursday night. Todd had run with that group for years and was there that night. I met him before the run when he drove up in his little sports car, a BMW Z3.

I had no hope of keeping up with Todd during the run. The course is a mix of paved and non-paved trails. The non-paved trails have roots and rocks sticking up, which is a twisted ankle just waiting to happen. The hills were larger than most that I had run on before. I was a flat lander in a sea of hills. The heat and humidity did not help matters. Peter tried to be supportive of my incredibly slow pace as he wondered out loud if I was going to be ready for the marathon in October. While the others did eight miles, we were lucky if we completed five. Some of it we walked. I stopped at one point to stretch out my calves. They had no experience on this sort of terrain. As we headed back, we took a narrow trail covered in soft pine needles. As we plodded along we could hear foot steps rapidly approaching. Peter pulled me to the side and said we should look out for these runners. They were serious and we shouldn't get in their way. I spotted Todd at the front of the pack.

Afterwards I stuck around visiting with everyone. One by one the people began to leave. I started to wonder what I would eat for supper and if I could find my way back to my hotel in Rocky Hill. Peter and I had left from work, each in our own cars. He lived near the reservoir, so Peter had no reason to drive across town to get me back to my hotel. Not wanting to eat alone, I invited Peter and Todd out for supper. Todd and I had been getting along well and I didn't want to say goodbye. Todd had mentioned that he lived and worked in Rocky Hill. I took a chance and asked if I could follow him back to Rocky Hill after dinner since I questioned my ability to find my way back. He agreed and a long discussion ensued about where to eat. Finally, we decided to check out a strip mall a few blocks away.

When we arrived, we spotted a Chinese restaurant and decided that would be good. There was only one small problem. When I was packing for the trip I forgot to include a t-shirt. I was only wearing running shorts and a sports bra. Tossing my modesty aside, I was willing to go inside dressed like I was. Luckily Todd let me borrow his Mount Washington Road Race t-shirt. My modesty restored, we went in and ordered. During the meal, Todd and I talked non-stop while Peter hardly said a word. We found out later that Peter was going through a divorce and the only reason he asked me to go running was because his manager suggested it. What a trooper Peter was!

I followed Todd back to Rocky Hill and to my delight instead of just passing by the Marriott he pulled in. We sat in the parking lot for a couple hours and talked. I really enjoyed it. Todd, being the ladies man that he is, did not ask me for my phone number or e-mail address when he was leaving. He thanked me for a nice evening and drove off. My head was spinning by the time I reached the room. He was incredible. I called my friend Jennifer in Omaha. She wasn't home so I left a message. I fired up my laptop and googled Todd. The only thing that came up was race results. Very fast race results. I called Jennifer again. There was still no answer. I left another message. I tried to sleep, but I couldn't stop thinking about him. Finally, around 2:30 AM Jennifer called and asked what the heck was up. My response, "Oh Jennifer, I am in trouble." Later I found out that Todd went home, fed his dog and went to sleep. I guess I made a great impression on him!

The following day I was scheduled to fly home in the afternoon. It turns out that Todd worked just a couple blocks from my hotel so on the way out of town I circled his work parking lot looking for his Z3. When I found it I put my business card on the window. By the time I arrive home, I had an e-mail from him.

Love Story

In April 2009 Mary Anne Lynch, a columnist with the Hartford Courant, wrote an article about how we met. She contacted Todd in February asking if she could write an article about us. We accepted her invitation and spent a couple hours on the phone with her telling our story. The article ran the day before the Boston Marathon. Mary Anne thought it was good karma to run it then!

The original article is no longer available online, so I have copied it here.

Love Story: Todd And Kim Brown
Special to The CourantApril 19, 2009

Todd Brown will run his 15th Boston Marathon Monday. His wife, Kim, will be handing out towels to sweaty runners lining up to shower.

Todd Brown has the easier assignment: crowds cheering him, volunteers handing him drinks, wrapping him in a foil blanket, crowning him with a medal at the finish.

Kim didn't see it coming when, in July 2005, Todd drove up at the reservoir in West Hartford with music blaring out of his convertible BMW Z3.

They were both there for the Hartford Track Club's weekly run. Todd chatted briefly with Kim, a fresh face visiting from Nebraska on a business trip.

She was training for her first marathon. Todd left her in the dust, an inauspicious sign.

"Since I was from a flat state, the hills in the reservoir killed," Kim said.

After the run, Kim discovered that Todd lived near her hotel in Rocky Hill. She thought, "If I take him out to eat, maybe I could follow him back."

"Oh, yeah, I'd love to go to dinner," Todd recalled saying. "I was 40. I'm a bachelor, just me and my dog."

They ate with Kim's business host, and Todd led her to her hotel parking lot when they were done.

"We talked for two hours in the parking lot," Kim said. "At 10:30, we realized we had to get to work in the morning. Ladies' man that he is, he doesn't ask for my phone number or for my e-mail address. He goes home, feeds his dog and goes to sleep."

"I have no social skills. I'm a chemist," Todd said.

"I don't stay up late," Kim said, but "I went back in the hotel and I Googled him," to see what she could find out about Todd. "I called my friend Jennifer in Nebraska, then I did a little work. At 1 a.m., she still wasn't home."

Kim left a message: "Jennifer, you've got to call me." She went to bed, but "I was lying there with my eyes open. Finally, at 4 o'clock, Jennifer calls. 'Oh, Jennifer, I'm in trouble'," Kim said. "I told her about him. He was different from anybody I ever met. He was special."

En route to work a few hours later, Kim saw Todd's office building and pulled into the parking lot, but his car wasn't there. "On my way out I circled again, and I see his car," she said. "I go and I put my business card on this car. It was a hint. He may have rocked my world, but he didn't get the whole dating thing."

"I'd been thinking of her during the day," Todd said, wondering how he could discreetly get her e-mail address from her business colleague in the track club. "I went home and sent her an e-mail," which Kim was thrilled to get when she arrived home that night.

"After that, we e-mailed very long, detailed e-mails for months," Kim said.

Todd, who has run 45 marathons, talked her through her jitters the night before the Chicago marathon she ran in. In early November, he asked her what she was doing for dinner on that Wednesday night.

Kim had a standing commitment, but she told Todd, "Nothing."

Todd doesn't fly and said "You wouldn't want to do long distances" in a sports car. But he drove 1,200 miles to Omaha with his dog Asta in his two-seater, leaving on Tuesday morning and arriving just as Kim left work Wednesday. On that Friday, when he was preparing to leave his hotel to head home, Kim knocked at his door, crying. "I don't want you to go," she said.

Kim came east for New Year's and then in February to accompany Todd to a race on Martha's Vineyard. Two months later, "I took the train out to Omaha and packed up everything in a U-Haul and drove back with her and her two dogs," Todd said. "We agreed we had to make it through a winter before we got married."

On Sept. 3, 2006, they got married and spent their honeymoon hiking and cycling through Acadia National Park in Maine.

"I sold a brand new, 2-year-old house to move out here," into the house Todd bought from his grandmother, Kim said. "This fall, I'll have lived in this house longer than any house I've ever lived in my entire life."

Kim runs half-marathons but prefers cycling. "I can kick his butt on a bike," Kim says.

She volunteers her computer programming expertise to maintain the Hartford Track Club website, besides assisting their runners in Boston, and she does quilting and scrapbooking when she is not exercising with Todd or joining him on his quest to climb the highest peak in every state. "He pushes me to do things that I never could have done before. He genuinely wants to be with me and to make me happy," Kim said.

"There are so many sides to her," Todd says. "Kim is very sweet and caring. I just look over at her and get that warm feeling." A welcome image after the hills of Boston.

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