"I can't believe how big a deal they're making over me."
June 2, 2014 7:06 AM   Subscribe

Last year, Harriette Thompson was battling an oral cancer. Yesterday, she became the world record holder in her age group at the Rock 'n Roll San Diego Marathon, clocking in a 7:07:42, the fastest time ever recorded for a woman over the age of 90. Today, she and her husband are celebrating their 67th anniversary.
posted by roomthreeseventeen (13 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
"If I’m still here next year, I think I’ll probably be able to train better and be in better shape,” Thompson said. “If I’m able, I’ll try again.”

That is fantastic. Great for her, and inspirational to any runner or anybody who thinks they might be "too old" to try something difficult.
posted by xingcat at 7:25 AM on June 2, 2014

Yeah, I'll be thinking about this on Sunday as I drag my 30-year old ass out of bed for the training run I'm dreading.
posted by eugenen at 7:37 AM on June 2, 2014

Ah, but she ran her first marathon at 76, which means I have several more years of loafing around before I need to feel bad about not doing it myself. . .
posted by Curious Artificer at 7:38 AM on June 2, 2014 [15 favorites]

My god. That's so far outside of my realm of possibilities that I don't feel inadequate. Just astounded.
posted by mondo dentro at 7:48 AM on June 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

A perfect time to reference this great story, of a 93 year old conquering the Mt. Washington road race. He's won three years in a row in the 90+ category.
posted by sutt at 7:50 AM on June 2, 2014

World records for marathon by age group. Interesting that they really slow down after 90. 85 is still really fast, at 5:14.26, around a 12 minute/mile average.
posted by smackfu at 8:01 AM on June 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

It makes me wonder if the higher age bracket records will all be broken in the next few years ... perhaps there's something demographic that's causing the records to fall as the Baby Boomer generation gets older (maybe there are just so many of them so that you have enough people on the edges of the bell curve to set records even as they get older).
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:11 AM on June 2, 2014

One complication here is that it's really hard to even set a finish time of greater than 7 hours in a marathon, because nearly every marathon has a time limit and it's usually 7 hours or less.

The old record holder ran the Portland Marathon, which has no time limit.
posted by smackfu at 9:03 AM on June 2, 2014


Tomorrow. I'll start training seriously tomorrow.
posted by allthinky at 9:05 AM on June 2, 2014

She's how old?

I'm 35 and I can't even contemplate running a marathon.

Hell of a person.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:06 AM on June 2, 2014

World records for marathon by age group. Interesting that they really slow down after 90. 85 is still really fast, at 5:14.26, around a 12 minute/mile average.

And I will mentally trip every single one of them as they easily cruise past me and I will rejoice in the sounds of their imaginary hip breakages.

posted by srboisvert at 9:12 AM on June 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

This is the problem with running!

I run 5Ks, and I do not run them very quickly. And 99% of the time I'm fine with it. I know that I feel better for running, and so on and so forth. But then I make the terrible mistake of looking at the race results, and invariably someone 40 years older than me has beaten me by ten minutes!

(And then I rant to my friend who also runs slowly, and she laughs at me, and we both agree that we hope we're still able to do a 5k in 40 years regardless of pace.)
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 10:03 AM on June 2, 2014 [2 favorites]

Reminds me of this guy. He's certainly not the fastest but his story is bittersweet - he took up running to overcome depression over the death of his wife & son, ran his last race at 101 years old.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 1:48 PM on June 2, 2014

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