91-Year-Old Woman Sets Marathon Record in San Diego

Some 91-year-olds are just grateful to be able to get out of bed in the morning and make it to the breakfast table.

Then there’s 91-year-old Harriette Thompson of Charlotte, who woke up Sunday morning in southern California, threw on some running clothes, and set a record in the San Diego Rock ’n’ Roll Marathon.

Despite still-healing burns on her legs due to recent radiation treatments for squamous cell carcinoma, despite temperatures that soared to near 80 degrees along the Pacific, Thompson finished in 7 hours, 7 minutes, 42 seconds. Her average pace (16 minutes, 20 seconds per mile) was faster than a typical healthy adult’s normal walking speed. And she kept it up for 26.2 miles.

“It wasn’t until around the 17th mile that I was going uphill and I was thinking, ‘Oh, I wonder if I’m gonna make this,’ ” Thompson told the Observer by phone, shortly before lying down for a much-deserved post-race nap. “But the last few miles I didn’t mind at all.”

“I felt like a queen for the day,” said Thompson, who was the recipient of much public support and media attention on the day of the race. This was also the 15th time she’s run this particular marathon, and she added, “If I’m still here next year… if I’m able, I’ll try again.” [Charlotte Observer]