Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon: Running becomes part of a new healthy lifestyle for Oklahoma City bombing survivor Amy Downs

Buried alive in the rubble of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building 19 years ago, Amy Downs made a promise to God that if she survived, she wasn’t going to live her life the same way. Some dark years followed as Downs tried to cope with the trauma, but she eventually got around to keeping her promise.
by Ed Godfrey Published: April 27, 2014
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photo - Amy Downs, a survivor of the blast, hugs her husband Terry Head near the survivor tree before the start the 14th Annual Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon in Oklahoma City, Sunday, April 27, 2014. Downs is running her fourth marathon after volunteering the other previous runs, and her husband is running his first half marathon. Photo by KT King/The Oklahoman
Amy Downs, a survivor of the blast, hugs her husband Terry Head near the survivor tree before the start the 14th Annual Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon in Oklahoma City, Sunday, April 27, 2014. Downs is running her fourth marathon after volunteering the other previous runs, and her husband is running his first half marathon. Photo by KT King/The Oklahoman

Buried alive in the rubble of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building 19 years ago, Amy Downs made a promise to God that if she survived, she wasn’t going to live her life the same way.

Trapped for 6 1/2 hours and expecting to die, Downs thought about “a lot of things in my life that were wrong and needed changing.”

Downs lived, but 18 of her co-workers in the Federal Employees Credit Union were killed in the bombing. Some dark years followed as Downs tried to cope with the trauma, but she eventually got around to keeping her promise.

“I kept going back to that day and the promise I made to God that I wasn’t going to live my life the same,” she said. “I was going to change.”

She became more spiritual. She returned to college and earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees. And then she made the biggest change in her life. She lost 200 pounds.

Weight had been a constant struggle for Downs, who weighed 355 pounds at age 27.

“When you are overweight, it bothers you all the time,” she said. “I don’t care what kind of face you put on or how you act about it.”

She had tried and failed many times to lose weight and finally decided in 2008 to have gastric sleeve surgery, which restricts the amount a person can eat.

She quickly lost 75 pounds, but WeightWise in Edmond warned Downs that she had to adopt a healthy lifestyle to reach her goal. In January 2009, Downs walked into a gymnasium for the first time in her life.

Since then, she has been going to the gym five days a week and either runs or rides a bicycle on weekends. She now weighs 155 pounds and encourages others to get off the couch and start moving.


by Ed Godfrey
Reporter Sr.
Ed Godfrey was born in Muskogee and raised in Stigler. He has worked at The Oklahoman for 25 years. During that time, he has worked a myriad of beats for The Oklahoman including both the federal and county courthouse in Oklahoma City for more...
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