91-Year-Old Woman Crushes Marathon World Record


Screen Shot 2014-06-03 at 1.37.31 PM
“This will be my 15th marathon,” Harriette Thompson says matter-of-factly in The Charlotte Observer video below.

Thompson, from Charlotte, N.C., is 91 years old. She’s just undergone radiation treatment for squamous cell carcinoma, a type of skin cancer, according to The Observer. But none of that stopped her from completing 26.2 miles in 7 hours, 7 minutes, 42 seconds at the San Diego Rock ’n’ Roll Marathon.

Her time earned her the world record for the fastest marathon by a woman 90 years or older and the second oldest marathon finisher in U.S. history, according to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series’ website. What keeps her running is her hope to find a cure for leukemia — according to the video below, the cause is especially important to her because she recently lost her brother to lymphoma. To date, she’s raised more than $90,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training. But she still doesn’t know what all the fuss is about.

“I don’t deserve all this attention,” Thompson told marathon organizers. “I never try to compete. I just try to make money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma society.”

“If I’m still here next year, I think I’ll probably be able to train better and be in better shape,” she told The Observer. “If I’m able, I’ll try again.”

If you’d like to make a donation to Thompson’s cause, head here.


Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.