Lebanon's Ginny Patterson will be traveling to Boston in April for the world-famous Boston Marathon.
"For a runner, going to Boston is the optimal thing," she said. It's something one could say, she's prepared for her entire life.
As a third grader at Watertown Elementary School, back-in-the-day, Patterson won her first-ever race. It was a 1-mile fun run. She continued to win the race every year, until sixth grade when a male classmate beat her.
"They didn't have a track team when I was in high school, so I played basketball and softball," she said. Coaches appreciated having Patterson on their teams - mainly because she was so darn fast.
After playing softball for one year in college at Middle Tennessee State University, Patterson decided to call it quits and refocus on her studies.
"That's when I really started doing races. Now races are a big hype, but back then they were more of a rarity," she explained. "I've always had a competitive drive."
Patterson ran her first Half-Marathon in 2005 and completed her first full Marathon in 2010.
"You have to qualify for the Boston Marathon and it has to be a full marathon," she said, noting that in her age group, 35-39, you have to complete a marathon in 3 hours and 40 minutes to be considered for a spot in Boston, which each year welcomes over 30,000 runners.
"I remember in 2012 I was really getting into running marathons and getting to Boston became a goal for me. I tried to qualify in Memphis and it didn't happen," she said.
A few years later, the determined Patterson tried again. At the end of 2015, she ran in the Huntsville Marathon where she made a time of 3:45 - fast, but still not fast enough.
"I said, 'I know I have it in me to do this,'" she said. Patterson gave it one last try on February 14, 2016 in Birmingham.
She made a time of 3:31.
She, of course, was thrilled to be selected for a spot in the 2017 Boston Marathon.
Patterson will fly to Boston on Saturday, April 15th to pick up a packet. Her bib number is 17013.
Until then, you'll probably see her running around town.
"I have one earbud in to hear some Christian music and the other out to hear traffic. I want to be safe," she said before comparing running to her spiritual journey. "Some days are really hard and some days are easier."
Follow Ginny's journey on Instagram @atheletic_n_style.
- The inaugural Boston Marathon took place on April 19, 1897. John J. McDermott of New York ran the 24.5-mile course in a winning time of 2:55:10.
- The Boston Marathon is the world's oldest marathon. It takes place each year on the third Monday in April, also known as Patriot's Day.
- In 1988, Ibrahim Hussein became the first black male to win at Boston.
- Women were officially excluded from the race until 1972. Kathrine Switzer famously entered as "KV Switzer" in 1967 and finished in 4 hours and 20 minutes.
- Runners must be age 18 and older to enter the marathon. In 2012, 81-year-old Maddona Buder finished the race in 5:38.