This 91-Year-Old Woman Finished the San Diego Marathon AND Set a New Record
Prepare yourself for a major dose of fitness inspiration.
On Sunday, Harriette Thompson, 91 (yes, you read that right), finished the San Diego Rock 'n' Roll Marathon in 7:07:42, the fastest time on record by a woman 90 or older, according to Runner's World. And get this: Even though it was Thompson's slowest-ever marathon, she STILL knocked more than an hour and 45 minutes off the previous record of 8:53:08, run by Mavis Lindgren at the 1997 Portland Marathon.
Running seems to be a family affair for the grandmother of 10 from Charlotte, North Carolina. She ran the race with her 55-year-old son, Brenny, at average pace of 16:19 per mile—slower than she would have liked. Her training was affected by recent radiation treatment on her legs to treat squamous cell carcinoma, The Charlotte Observer reported. And six days before the marathon, she and husband Sydnor, 90, completed a Memorial Day 5K together. The couple celebrated their 67th wedding anniversary yesterday.
"I can’t believe how big a deal they’re making over me. I felt like a queen for the day," she told The Observer.
Thompson ran her first marathon at age 76 in 1999. “You’re never too old to do it,” she told Runner's World. Since her marathon debut 16 years ago, Thompson has run in support of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team In Training, and has raised more than $90,000 for the charity.
And she's not done yet. When Runner's World asked Thompson if she had more marathons planned, she said she'd run San Diego in 2015 “if I’m still here.” She would be 92. The oldest female marathon finisher on record is Gladys Burrill, who at age 92 ran the 2010 Honolulu Marathon in 9:53:16, according to Runner's World.
“I’ll try and do better next year and be in better shape,” she said. Let that be a lesson to all of us: Never stop improving.