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By Omar Sacirbey

(RNS) Ask Jalon Fowler, a 38-year-old IT specialist for John Hancock Financial Services, what advice she would give to two Muslim friends who will each be running their first Boston Marathon, and this Muslim convert is happy to opine.

“Go easy; stay relaxed,” Fowler said. “Make sure you get to 17 in good shape. Make sure that you have enough in the tank to get through the hills, because that’s the hardest part. But know that when you get to 21, there is such a huge crowd waiting for you, cheering for you so loud, and you’ll feel so much adrenaline that it’ll take you the rest of the way.”

Fowler, who grew up in nearby Methuen and will be running her fourth Boston Marathon on Monday (April 21), understands this year is different. After last year’s tragedy, in which three people were killed and more than 260 others were injured when a pair of homemade bombs detonated near the finish line, Fowler knows she will also be the face of Muslim America when she runs past thousands of spectators. [Read more…]