Boston Marathon

My 77-Year-Old Auntie Is About to Set a Boston Marathon Record

Running "gives me joy, it gives me purpose and time to be with my family," Patty Hung told her relative, NBC10 Boston's Hannah Donnelly, ahead of her record-breaking 37th straight Boston Marathon

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UPDATE (Tuesday, April 18): Hannah's auntie Patty Hung broke the record! Here's more on her race.

Marathon Monday is a big day for my family every year, but this year is extra special because my auntie, Patty Hung, (well, technically my dad’s cousin) is breaking a Boston Marathon record.



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She is currently tied for the longest female streak, meaning most consecutive Boston Marathons for women, at 36. On Monday she will break the record when she crosses the finish line to reach 37. Oh, and she’s 77!

She is a born and raised Bostonian but moved out to California in early adulthood. It wasn’t until she was in her late 30s that she really found running.

When she was living near Lake Merritt in Oakland, she saw people running and walking on a nice day and thought, “I can do this.” Those three miles around the lake would change her life forever.

Running “gives me joy, it gives me purpose and time to be with my family,” she told me on Friday.

Tom Grilk was CEO of the Boston Athletic Association during the deadly Boston Marathon bombing.

Patty has made the trip back East for 36 years to run the iconic 26.2 miles.

Her first Boston Marathon was in 1987 — according to BAA records, there were 6,399 entrants back then, compared to 28,580 last year. The race has grown over the years in so many ways, but the tradition of family and community has remained. It’s something we all look forward to. Some of us (myself, her sons and my dad!) have joined her for some of the races.

Despite those 36 Boston Marathons under her belt, the race never gets easier, Patty said.

When she reaches mile 13, she feels a sense of relief: “It’s all downhill from there…even though it’s uphill when I hit Heartbreak Hill. But, it’s downhill and so I know it’s a reality I can at least finish.”

On Marathon Monday, like every year before, we will meet her at the 13-mile mark to celebrate her strength, resilience and spirit as she embraces each person with a warm (sweaty!) embrace.

So the big question: will she continue after this year? “Of course I will continue…it was never about breaking the record, it was about continuing the tradition,” she said.

Watch the full "On Her Mark" interview here:

Perennial Boston Marathon runner Patty Hung is interviewed by her cousin's daughter, NBC10 Boston's Hannah Donnelly, ahead of her record-breaking run.
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