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Resilient Runner

Gridley High freshman Brian Brown lost his home to the Camp Fire and his mother a year before, but still finds the heart to keep running.

Posted: Sep 2, 2020 12:34 AM

GRIDLEY, Calif. -- Gridley High freshman Brian Brown lost his home to the Camp Fire and his mother a year before, but still finds the heart to keep running.

“I always try to push myself farther than anybody else. I know that I can’t be the strongest, fastest or tallest, but I always try to be the hardest worker out there,” said Brown.

Brown plays basketball and right now cross country for Head Coach Steve Allard.

“He’s talented, and competitive. Every time we have practice he’s always vying for that top spot because there’s Damian, he’s a senior, but Brian just got faster and stronger,” said Allard.

Brown doesn’t just stride for the top spot, but an outlet to feel free.

“About half way through, you just kind of get to that spot where you’re running and it’s just a blank, you’re free,” said Brown.

Brown’s mother Anna Brown died in 2017 from liver disease. She struggled with it since she was born.

“It was tough, but we got through it,” said Brown. “It’s still kind of hard when the day comes along but we get through it.”

Months after the Camp Fire destroyed the home his mother raised him in.

“It was already smoky, the sky was red, it was very hard to breathe,” said Brown. “A lot of kids are covering their face so we go home and my grandpa was actually asleep so he didn’t even know the fire was going on. I grabbed my mom’s ashes, some clothes and had and a couple gifts she gave me and we loaded up the SUV and started down Neal Road.”

Brown believes everything happens for a reason. The then seventh grader and his grandparents moved to Gridley, where he ran into Sydney Allard.

“We met in 7th grade in Mr. Cars class and I flipped around and said, ‘hi new kid,” said Allard.

Sidney is now Brian’s girlfriend. She introduced him to cross country and her father, who is the coach, Steve Allard.

“As a dad, it’s hard to approve of anyone, but as time went by you begin to appreciate the qualities he has as a young boy,” said Steve

Brown is now a frontrunner on his team and is on track to make varsity.

I never thought I would be doing it, I noticed it’s really fun, the team here is so supportive, we try to bring each other up like in our runs, whoever is last, we’re complimenting each other,” said Brown.

It was a rocky journey, but Brown now has a team and something to run for.

“After my mom passed I dedicate everything to her so as long as I am living the best life I could,” said Brown. Even with the fire, just because I am not living in the same house, doesn’t mean I can’t stride to where I need to go,” said Brown.

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 903684

Reported Deaths: 17343
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles2989376989
Riverside657571279
San Bernardino623531072
Orange583261444
San Diego54314868
Kern33775416
Fresno30590436
Sacramento25264484
Santa Clara24014388
Alameda23215460
San Joaquin21630489
Contra Costa18523241
Stanislaus17572396
Tulare17495286
Ventura14192164
Imperial12700336
San Francisco12069140
Monterey1132189
San Mateo11075159
Santa Barbara9760120
Merced9465155
Sonoma9163134
Kings821883
Solano728674
Marin7057128
Madera498174
San Luis Obispo414132
Placer408857
Yolo316658
Butte305952
Santa Cruz277125
Napa194215
Shasta184630
Sutter183712
San Benito143615
El Dorado13154
Yuba129310
Mendocino112421
Tehama8628
Lassen7661
Lake68915
Glenn6573
Nevada6088
Humboldt5629
Colusa5506
Calaveras34218
Amador32416
Tuolumne2684
Inyo22715
Siskiyou1930
Del Norte1781
Mono1782
Mariposa782
Plumas680
Modoc290
Trinity260
Sierra60
Alpine30
Unassigned00
Chico
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 64°
Oroville
66° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 66°
Paradise
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 64°
Chester
Clear
33° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 25°
Feels Like: 24°
Red Bluff
Clear
62° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 62°
Willows
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 64°
Fire danger will be extreme Sunday-Monday as the biggest dry wind event of the season takes shape. A widespread freeze in the Sierra-Cascades as low as single-digit values possible Sunday night. Mild & sunny weather after Tuesday.
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