With pins in her elbow, a rod in her hip and an extra pair of shoes stashed at mile 17, Hillsborough County School Board member Lynn Gray completed her 100th and final marathon Sunday in Gainesville.
It wasn’t easy, as in recent years the 66-year-old former teacher has weathered a series of setbacks, from knee replacements to broken bones. These were not from running, she said in an email Sunday night, but “due to being clumsy and falling.”
The weather was warmer than expected as Gray took part in the Five Points of Life charity race. “Mr. Sun was now coming out,” she wrote, describing conditions around the ninth mile. By the time she changed shoes because of swollen feet, it was about 85 degrees with no shade. She interspersed running with walking and, for about four hours, she was alone.
It took more than six hours to complete the 26.2 miles - a far cry from the competitive times Gray has logged in the years past, including a Disney Marathon finish of three hours and 42 minutes when she was in her 40′s.
But, she wrote, “marathoners are a determined, tenacious and enduring species.”
Gray has earned a reputation on the School Board for asking a lot of questions and challenging the growth of the charter school sector, which uses tax money but allows private and sometimes for-profit organizations to manage the schools.
She also has been coaching students and school district employees who will take part in Saturday’s Gasparilla 5K race to show support for the district’s “90-by-20” graduation rate goal.