The roaring crowds and official coronations had departed, and workers were well into their tear-down of stands and barricades when she crossed the finish line at 8:45 p.m. But who she is and who she was running for is far more important than her time.
Drozdz, nicknamed "Thunder Thighs" for her endurance and record -- she's a veteran of over 75 marathons and has completed at least one in every state -- was running for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, which was trying to raise $5.4 million to fund cancer research this marathon. Drozdz had been trying to get on the Dana-Farber team to run the Boston Marathon for the past three years, and once she was accepted, she slayed it.
Running in honor of her husband Stan, who's fighting cancer for the third time, Drozdz was surprised to see him there at the finish line to place a medal around her neck. Stan, however, was relieved: Fran took so long to finish that he had called the Boston Police earlier, afraid that his wife might have gotten injured or even lost.
“I get a medal? Oh yay, for my husband," said a giddy Drozdz to NECN as Stan, noticeably relieved, ushered her past the finish line.
An Arizona native and accomplished marathoner, Drozdz told the Boston Herald that Monday's crowds are what made the day so special.
“It was the people who were so wonderful,” she said. “In front of people’s houses they had brand new socks if you wanted socks, brand new gloves if you wanted gloves. I’ve run 75 marathons and never had this happen. The people here have been wonderful.”
And by the way, may we please have a slow clap for the seven -- yes, seven -- finishers in Monday's Boston Marathon who were 80 or older? Last year's New York City Marathon only had six runners in the 80-plus bracket.
Monday's Boston Marathon truly brought out the best in people, and lucky for us, Drozdz was there to make her mark amongst tens of thousands of runners.
Sometimes the best finish last.