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76 year old half marathoner


Patsy Carroll completed her first half marathon a little more than four years ago. After her husband of 50 years died months earlier, the training proved cathartic.

“It’s very solitary, and you can do a lot of thinking,” said Carroll, who’s 76 years old and lives in Madison, Miss. “I probably cried a lot during those walks.

Carroll knocked off her third 13.1-miler at Sunday’s Humana Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans Half Marathon, and she had some company by her side. Carroll’s daughter, Patti Fudge, completed her first half marathon, completing the feat exactly two years after undergoing hip-transplant surgery.

Fudge had both of her hips replaced within one month.

“Words can’t express how proud I am of her,” Carroll said of her daughter.

Said Fudge, “She inspired me to do this.”

A retired registered nurse, Carroll was active before her husband passed away. She walked regularly and practiced yoga at home, 20 minutes every morning.

A friend suggested that Carroll take the half-marathon challenge. She did most of her training on her own.[/column]

“If you have something to look forward to, it makes it easier to cope,” she said. “You get tired. You can sleep and rest better. Having the goal, I think, takes you outside of yourself, toward something else.”

Her husband, Henry Claiborne “Boo” Carroll served in the Army and retired as a lieutenant colonel.

“He was very supportive of me and protective. I guess that’s the military thing,” said Carroll. “He would have approved of me doing the half marathon. He was always very supportive of anything I wanted to do and very thoughtful.”

Carroll finished the race in 3 hours, 30 minutes. Mother and daughter walked together for four miles before Fudge picked up the pace, finishing in 3:15.

A regular tennis player before her hip transplants, Fudge returned to the courts within six weeks of her second surgery.

Of her half-marathon experience, Fudge said, “I crossed an item off my bucket list. It was fun. The bands, the people. I’ll sign up and do it again.”[/column] [/grid]