GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – A 63-year-old Sullivan Elementary School custodian, Kathy Waldron, received a welcomed surprise on Thursday morning as hundreds of students and staff lined the hallways holding handmade signs and screaming words of encouragement as she prepares to tackle her 31st Boston Marathon.

Kathy Waldron at Sullivan Elementary School

“I’m still shaking and all sweaty, not from running, but just from all the good excitement…It’s just amazing. I am just blown away… I appreciate everyone here so much,” exclaimed Waldron just moments after the surprise.

Waldron, who has only worked at Sullivan for a little less than a year, has used her positive and friendly demeanor to create strong ties with students and staff as evident by this grand gesture.

“These kids love her. They see her every day; she’s down in our lunchrooms cleaning and they see her in the hallways and she gets to know the kids. So they were proud and very happy to share in the excitement and show their pride and love for her,” said Principal at Sullivan Elementary School, Tanya Fenner.

Waldron, who has completed 30 Boston Marathons and is set to run her 31st, shared that the support she felt from the 650 students was comparable to, if not greater than, the support felt from the crowds at the marathon.

“That crowd is there for all their family members…There are the elite runners that everybody wants to see- well I’m so not that. I’m just a little old lady who runs marathons but look at what the school did for me! It’s just amazing… I can’t believe the love I feel from here,” shared Waldron.

Kathy Waldron hugging Sullivan Elementary School staff member

Waldron will be taking that love with her as she heads to Boston in the coming days to run in her 31st marathon on April 18.

And with race day right around the corner, Waldron can’t help but remember how it all started.

According to Waldron, she knew she wanted to run in the Boston Marathon at the age of five after hearing an announcer on the radio report the results of the marathon.

There next to her, listening to the results, was her father who gave her the encouragement she needed to pursue her dream.

“I asked my dad if he thought I could do ever do that one day and he said ‘yes, I believe you can’ and all those years I kept that in my head and I got to high school and I was in track and stuff and it wasn’t until I was 31 that I did my first marathon finally,” said Waldron.

Waldron recalls that first marathon and how special it was, not only because she was accomplishing her childhood dream, but because her dad was able to be there to watch her do it.

“It was my childhood dream my mom and dad and both my kids were there with me and my dad passed away a year after that of cancer. He died and was buried with that first Boston Marathon medal around his neck,” explained Waldron.

Since then, Waldron has continued to run the Boston marathon every year, which has earned her the title of being the only woman in Wisconsin to have run the Boston Marathon more than 25 times.

And this record is only expected to get harder to beat as Waldron has no plans of hanging up her running shoes anytime soon saying that she is determined to keep her streak alive.