Proving age is no barrier to achieving marathon success, 91-year-old North Carolina resident Harriette Thompson crossed the finish line recently at the Suja Rock ’n’ Roll San Diego marathon. It was her 15th San Diego marathon in 16 years, after deciding to take up the challenge at the age of 76. Since then she has missed only one year, due to a battle with oral cancer.
This year, she has also had some health setbacks – but she didn’t let that stop her. Harriette was diagnosed with skin cancer ahead of this year’s event, and according to local media reports she had undergone treatment only one month before the race. Inspiring spectators the world over, she completed her marathon in 7 hours, 7 minutes and 42 seconds – beating the previous record for her age group by over two hours.
Harriette was accompanied by her son Brenny, who has been by her side for four of her San Diego marathons. He told the Charlotte Observer how fellow runners and supporters rallied around his mother. “If Jack Nicholson had run the race with me, it wouldn’t have been as crazy,” he said proudly. “I had to almost be protective of her.”
With Harriette telling reporters she’ll be back to try again next year if she’s able, her current record may not stick around for long.