PROFILE--Kathy Waldron has finished 28 Bostons in a row

Waldron has 28 Boston medals in her collection, more
than are shown here.
(6-2019) To some extent Kathy Waldron, who grew up one of 12 kids on a farm in Wisconsin, owes her Boston streak to her father, a runner, and her biggest supporter. When he read about Kathrine Switzer’s 1967 Boston Marathon finish, he wrote a letter to his daughter. It said: “Some day you will run the Boston Marathon.”  Waldron, now 60, still has that letter and credits her father for her strength and gumption. When he died, she buried him with her first Boston Marathon medal.

Profession/Career? I’m a jack-of-all-trades kind of woman. I once drove trucks across country, have been an administrative assistant at a hospital, and most recently I’ve been a school bus driver and a courier for a lab. I like to

drive. I drive to Boston every year from Green Bay, Wisconsin.

Guesstimate of your total lifetime miles? I looked at old training logs and completed marathons and I came up with an approximate number of 31,148.20 lifetime miles.

When did you start running and why? I started running on the farm when I was 5 years old, trying not be caught by my 11 siblings.  I formally started running in high school, the one-mile mostly, as that was the longest distance they offered way back then for girls.  I started my serious running career in high school at Brillion High School in WI and in 1975 I qualified for states in the 800 and won the mile in 5:18.

How much did you run during your peak years? When I trained for my first marathon in my 30s, I was running 100-plus miles a week, which resulted in total overuse injuries. It was then that I learned that more is not always better. I cut my mileage in half, running fewer but more efficient miles.

In high school, a pioneer
in compression socks (joking).
Top races or running achievements? My best performance in a marathon was the Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon in the mid 90s when I ran a 2:54:45.  Honestly, that was one of the marathons that I trained for the least, which really makes me believe that this marathon thing is at least as much a mind thing as it is a physical thing.  Sure you have to train, but for that particular marathon, I had not trained the way I believe I should have and decided to run it completely for fun and with that, I was SO relaxed. It just blew me away how much better you can run if you are simply r-e-l-a-x-e-d!!  

I have another all-time favorite marathon, and I was lucky enough to win it a few times - The Med-City Marathon in Rochester, MN. All the volunteers are top notch, the course is beautiful and Rochester is just a really friendly, clean city!

Of course Boston has been my goal since I was 5 years old, so that is super special to me, and I would needs pages and pages to describe how that marathon makes me feel, how lucky I have been to make it there and how precious is it to have my family support me all these years!

Current running, cross-training, stretching, strength work, etc? When I was younger, I ran a lot harder than I do now and my times were much faster.  It seems that now that I am 63, I can't run as hard without causing injury, but I can still run far.  So my times are MUCH slower, and just finishing a marathon puts a big fat smile on my face every single time! I don't run every day.  Some days I do Stairmaster, a good 30-minute workout, all the way to the top, and I am spent when I am done. In Summer I do a fair amount of biking.

Dietary and weight changes? Supplements? I have been vegetarian (about 90% vegan) since my kids were born in the early 80s.  My 11 siblings and I were raised on a dairy farm, and dairy and meat was just about what we lived on, with sweet corn, potatoes, radishes and carrots from the garden.

Do you prefer social running or solo running? I run by myself mostly, as I do not want to feel the pressure of trying to stay with someone or slowing someone down.  I use my running time to think about my life and it seems that I do my best thinking when I run. My biking days are my "social" workout days.

Injuries and/or health issues? Since my first marathon in 1991, I have been able to run at least a couple marathons a year. I've had several close calls at not even being able to toe the start line but with good advice from doctors, support from my family, prayers and just sheer will, I make it through.

In the winter of 2014, I slipped on a patch of ice in my driveway, and suffered a bone bruise on my left knee. I couldn't run for six weeks right before the Boston Marathon and had to shuffle through the course.

Favorite quote? My favorite quote has nothing to do with running at all but it does have to do with the awesome, diverse group of people who share our love for running:   "My Country is the World, and My Religion is to Do Good.” – Thomas Paine

How does running & fitness improve your life? I think that running is important in helping with our aging process, not only for the physical benefits of keeping a strong heart and bones, etc, but it keeps our minds thinking of our next running adventure. How can that not be a good and positive thing?

Three tips for young runners inspiring to be a lifetime runner?
1--Run on trails or dirt as much as you can, rather than constant concrete.
2--Be happy with your performances and thankful you can run.  
3--Don't beat yourself up if you don't make the times you want right away. Everyone has bad days. But even those days are good because you tried and it’s OKAY!  

What's your philosophy of life, aging, and running? If there is one thing I have learned from running, it is to be thankful for your ability to run, at any age, and for all the wonderful people you meet along the way!