Kelly Brush cranked her way to victory on Monday in the prestigious Boston Marathon, winning the women’s handcycle division.
Brush, of Charlotte, finished in a time of 1:55:01. She finished sixth place overall among handcyclists. Brush qualified for Boston at last year’s KeyBank Vermont City Marathon in Burlington, her first marathon attempt, where she finished in a time of 2:19. Boston was her second marathon.
“When I qualified for Boston a year ago at the Burlington marathon I had no idea what to expect. Being part of a race with tens of thousands of participants was a thrill. I can’t believe I won,” Brush said.
Training for the event was a challenge for Brush, 24, who is attending Massachusetts General Hospital Institute of Health Professions in Boston, where she is studying to become a nurse practitioner. The marathon came in the middle of exams and training was difficult in the city. She was only able to ride outdoors three times before the race.
Brush is a graduate of Middlebury College where she was a member of the ski team. She sustained a severe spinal cord injury while racing in 2006. She and her family started the Kelly Brush Foundation to raise awareness and money for ski racing safety and spinal cord injury prevention. Each year the foundation hosts a 100-mile bicycle and handcycle ride in Middlebury, Vt. that raises money for the foundation. This year the Kelly Brush Century Ride is set for Sept. 10.