Nothing will inspire you and spark your motivation more than watching someone who has overcome incredible odds go on to become a success in a specific area of life, especially fitness. One such example in 2014 was Harriette Thompson, who set a U.S. record for her age group at just over 7 hours when she ran a marathon in San Diego.
She was 91 years old.
However, Thompson didn’t just beat the old record by a little bit. She blew the previous record for her age group out of the water, beating that time by two hours and 45 minutes. Her exact time was 7 hours, 7 minutes and 42 seconds. She went on record as the second-oldest woman in the nation to finish a marathon. She began running marathons at 76 years of age.
This was Thompson’s 15th marathon. She ran with her son, explaining that this particular race was especially challenging because of a major obstacle, not in the road but in her health — she was battling cancer and undergoing radiation treatments. She elaborated that she struggled to train because of the treatment regime, and she battled such pain that she could hardly even stand at times. Her training consisted of some work on the elliptical, and she ran a 5K a few days before the big race. She wasn’t sure how her lack of training would affect the race outcome. However, the race went much better than she expected, and she reported feeling good the following day. She laughed as she observed that no one is ever too old to exercise and said that she knows what she’s talking about and speaks from experience. She’s happy that she can serve as an inspiration to others.
After the race, she ate a popsicle and celebrated with her family. She hopes to complete more marathons and thinks she can even better her time if her health permits.
One of her racing goals is to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society; in 15 years, she has brought in nearly $100,000. A close friend with the disease inspired her to take on this cause. Her determination has increased through the years. At the time of the race, she had recently lost her brother at age 99 to lymphoma. She continued that she’s had lots of family members and friends who have struggled with both diseases and succumbed to cancer.
Besides setting national records in marathons and battling skin cancer, Thompson is about to celebrate her 67th wedding anniversary. She is also an accomplished concert pianist. In addition to running, she enjoys attending stretching classes and taking yoga.
No matter your age or fitness level, Flow Fitness Boutique, our ladies’ fitness center, has a class that’s right for you. As Harriette Thompson clearly shows, you are never too old to make fitness a priority in your life. If you aren’t sure where to start, try one of our introductory fitness classes, such as Intro to PiYo or Tone and Stretch. You will be glad you did!