True grit

Hours after everyone leaves Boston Marathon, determined 72-year-old crosses finish line

There were many inspiring stories to emerge from the 120th running of the Boston Marathon on Monday: the historic sweep by the Ethiopian winners; the amputees injured in the marathon bombing three years ago who triumphed and ran the race; the story of Bobbi Gibb, who 50 years ago became the first woman to complete the Boston Marathon.

And then there was the story of Fran Drozdz. Drozdz, 72, finished last in the Boston Marathon, crossing the finish line on Boylston Street at 8:45 p.m. — long after everyone else had completed the race and gone home. Drozdz is no stranger to the grueling 26.2-mile tests of endurance. In fact, Monday marked the 77th time she’s completed a marathon.

“I’ve done a marathon and in every single state and Washington, D.C.,” Drozdz told local TV station NECN.

But by late afternoon, tens of thousands of runners had completed the race while Drozdz was still out there on the unforgiving course. It wasn’t until 6:30 that she reached the infamous Heartbreak Hill. Unbroken, Drozdz pressed on. She was running in honor of her husband, Stan, who’s battling cancer for the third time. And she knew he was waiting for her at the finish line. In fact, her husband said he thought she might have gotten lost on the course. She wasn’t, though — and they reunited in the dark when she finished her race.

Running the fabled Boston Marathon, a notoriously difficult event to qualify for, had always been a dream of hers. And, in 2016, three years after officially qualifying, Drozdz finally got her chance — and made the most of it.

Read the full story at NECN.

Related:

Boston Marathon bombing survivor helps other amputees pay for prostheses

The incredible story of Bobbi Gibb, the first woman to run the Boston Marathon

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