91-Year-Old Woman Breaks Marathon Record with Awe-Inspiring Performance

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
June 2 2014 8:41 PM

91-Year-Old Woman Breaks Marathon Record with Awe-Inspiring Performance

495182209-year-old-marathon-participant-harriette-thompson
Harriette Thompson, marathoner.

Photo by Jerod Harris/Getty Images for Rock 'n' Roll Marathon Series

Simply getting to the finish line of a marathon is an accomplishment in itself—when you cross the finish line and you’re 91-years-old, however, it's one for the record books. Over the weekend, ninety-something Harriette Thompson completed a marathon in San Diego clocking in with a time of 7 hours, 7 minutes and 42 seconds.

That time smashed the previous record for women in 90+ category by two hours and 45 minutes. It was Thompson’s 15th marathon in the last 16 years and was not without adversity, NPR’s the Two-Way reports.

Thompson has been battling skin cancer recently. She told reporters she had undergone nine radiation treatments in 11 days, the last one coming just a month before the race. She wore bandages and tights to cover wounds left by the treatment. Thompson runs every year to raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Her brother died from lymphoma in February, Runner's World.
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After the race, Thompson—who had run a 5K with her husband a week earlier—told the Charlotte Observer: “I can’t believe how big a deal they’re making over me. I felt like a queen for the day.” “If I’m still here next year, I think I’ll probably be able to train better and be in better shape,” Thompson said.

Elliot Hannon is a writer in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter.

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