Harriette Thompson: 92-year-old becomes oldest woman to run a marathon

North Carolina woman began running marathons in her 70s

Ian Johnston
Sunday 31 May 2015 23:16 BST
Harriette Thompson, 92, at the 2014 Suja Rock 'n' Roll Marathon in San Diego
Harriette Thompson, 92, at the 2014 Suja Rock 'n' Roll Marathon in San Diego (AP)

A 92-year-old has become the oldest woman in the world to run a marathon.

Harriette Thompson finished the Rock n Roll Marathon in San Diego in a time of 7 hours, 24 minutes and 36 seconds and was then surrounded by a joyous crowd.

“I’m fine, they're really pampering me here,” she said shortly after finishing the race, the Associated Press reported.

She is 46 days older than the previous record holder, Gladys Burrill, but still has some way to go to beat the all-comers record, currently held by Fauja Singh, an Indian-born man who lives in Ilford, England. He ran the Toronto marathon in 2011 at the age of 100.

Ms Thompson, of Charlotte, North Carolina, whose husband died in January, said she was “just really thrilled that I could finish today”.

“It's always harder but this year has been a bad year for me,” she said.

“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 [for an infection].”

Her time in the same race last year – of 7 hours, 7 minutes and 42 seconds – was a record for a woman aged 90 or over.

She began running marathons in her 70s. “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,” she said.

A pianist who played at the prestigious Carnegie Hall in New York, she plays piano pieces in her head to help her through the marathon.

“I don't think I'd be living today if I didn't do this running,” she said.

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