Some days I have a hard time getting my running shoes on and getting out the door.
There are always a myriad of excuses to choose from when flaking out on a run: It's hot or I'm tired or maybe I will just wait until I've had another cup of tea. (The list goes on and on.) Yesterday was one of those days for me. I had a long run (well, long for me!) of 12 miles on my plate for the day, and I just did not want to get it done. Then I read something that put a smile on my face and had me lacing up my shoes faster than you can say marathon world record.
Yesterday, around the same time that I was hemming and hawing over whether or not to go for a run, another runner was getting out of bed and lacing up her shoes. She was not giving in to excuses about heat or tea or exhaustion. She was on a mission to make history. And she did. Harriette Thompson ran the San Diego Rock 'n' Roll Marathon — at 92 — and now she holds the distinction of being the world's oldest female marathoner.
Thompson, who lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, completed the race in 7 hours 24 minutes 36 seconds. That's a pretty solid time for any marathoner. Sunday's race was Thompson's 16th completion of the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon. Last year, her time of 7 hours 7 minutes 42 seconds smashed the previous world record for a female 90 or over by more than 90 minutes.
Still, Thompson is happy with her marathon time for this year, especially since she wasn't even sure she'd be able to finish.
''I couldn't train very well because my husband was very ill and I had to be with him for some time and then when he died in January, I had some treatments on my leg,'' she told Yahoo News. ''I was just really thrilled that I could finish today.''
Before Thompson's run, the oldest woman to complete a marathon was Gladys Burrill, who completed the 2010 Honolulu Marathon at the age of 92 years and 19 days. Thompson was 92 years and 65 days old yesterday.
Thompson didn't even start running marathons until she was in her 70s when a member of her church asked her for help fundraising by participating in a marathon team to raise money to fight leukemia and lymphoma.
''At that time I had lost several people in my family to cancer and I said, 'Oh, maybe I should do that','' she recalled. ''When I got out there the first year I just planned to walk it, but everybody else was running so I started to run with them.''
Sixteen marathons later, Thompson has raised more than $100,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society by running in marathons.
Thompson ran the weekend race with her son, Brenny. “Since I’m so old, everybody wants to have their picture taken with me. Brenny says, ‘Don’t stop her, just take a selfie,’ rather than stop and take pictures all the time, because I’d never get to the end,” Thompson told Runner’s World.
Big congrats to Harriette on her momentous achievement. Thanks to her inspiration, I'll never be able to wriggle my way out of a long run again!
Related on MNN:
- 103-year-old marathoner wins British Medal of Honor
- Woman walks marathon with 45 lbs of water on her head
- Fla. man runs marathon backward, while juggling