In her quest to make the biggest impact she can on the Philadelphia community, Megan Brown sure makes a big one on herself.
The wife of wide receiver Reggie Brown isn't particularly one to sit around idly. It's not her style. So Megan – a bike-rider like her husband and a triathlete – decided to do something she had never done before.
In teaming up with other Eagles' wives, women in the Eagles' organization and Eagles Youth Partnership, Megan was a major organizer of a group running in the ING Philadelphia Distance Run, which took place on Sept. 21. The half-marathon (13.1 miles) took its toll on the participants, but the rewards were sweet – more than $3,500 was raised for EYP.
"We just got together some of the Eagles' wives and some people within the Eagles organization and made a small team to raise some money," Megan said. "It was just a way to get ourselves in shape, feel better about ourselves, and also do some good work for a good cause at the same time."
Megan has always been among the women at the forefront of the Eagles Women's Association's activities, including participating in the Eagles Chess Tournament and taking a lead role in coordinating the Wives' Yard Sale at the Eagles Carnival. She said that volunteering is the best way for her to keep active while working around Reggie's busy year-round schedule.
But this time, she wanted to take the next step.
So after discussing the idea with EYP Executive Director Sarah Martinez-Helfman in June, Megan joined Mandy Gocong, wife of linebacker Chris, Renee Reese, wife of former linebacker Ike, Tammy Trotter (wife of former linebacker Jeremiah); Eagles employees Kristie Pappal, Korrine Dennis, Lauren Waitkus and Amy Tessier, and EYP supporter Michelle Getty in "Green 13," a group named to honor both the Eagles and the distance the women would be running.
Some of the women – like Pappal and Tessier – were experienced distance runners, and some, including Mandy Gocong, had never run for distance in their lives. But the goal was simple for all involved: finish.
The training was rigorous, under Megan and Mandy's personal trainer, Diva. The women woke up early every Saturday morning starting at the beginning of July – "My Friday nights were nonexistent for two months," Tessier said – to meet at Boathouse Row to do long distance runs, ranging from six miles to 11.5 miles.
What's more, the training program was abbreviated. Megan said that most long-distance programs are spread out over the course of six months.
"It was very extreme. We were all pretty beat up by the end of the training," Megan said. "The mileage definitely scared a lot of people. But several of us just got in there and did it. It was the toughest thing many of us had ever done. By the end of the race, we were literally just pulling each other through."
That's no surprise. Megan said the last 1.6 miles of the Distance Run were among the toughest steps – the course to the finish line at the Philadelphia Museum of Art took a swing uphill.
The husbands didn't run – they were there for moral support at the finish line, providing a little bit of an extra push over the last mile. And after just over two hours, the goal had been attained. All the women finished, including Mandy, who had been sick in the week leading up to the race.
"We were struggling," Megan said. "But having the group there all struggling together, many of us doing it for the first time, we just kept moving.
"When you cross the finish line, you feel so accomplished, absolutely on top of the world. It's the hardest thing I've ever done, but also one of the most important."
Megan said she still runs five times a week, with slightly shorter distances. Occasionally, Reggie will join her, but his longer and most impressive distances come on his bike. Megan said he once did an "insane" 100 miles in a single day.
"He takes so much pride when I do something like this," Megan said. "Seeing his face when I crossed the finish line was almost as good as finishing the race itself."
Megan said making the run annual – and even pushing it to a full marathon – could be in "Green 13's" future. And more runs are scheduled in the near future. The goal now is to get more women from the organization involved, and to raise more money for a cause.
"I do it for me, I do it for Reggie, and I do it for Philadelphia," Megan said. "We just want to leave this city with the biggest possible impact we can."