Julia Hawkins took up sports when she was 81, an age when most become too frail to even walk. It was more than a hobby for her — she soon started excelling in competitive cycling, twice winning gold at the Senior Olympics. Not wanting to let her age hold her back, she decided to become a runner when she turned 100. Now, one year later, she has beat the world record for the 100-m dash for women aged 100 and above.
What makes her win even more noteworthy is that she achieved this feat without any real training.
The former school teacher, born in Wisconsin in 1916, has grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Talking about taking up competitive running, to Runner's World, she said,
"I knew I could run because I’m always in the yard working, and when the phone rings, I go running inside to answer it. I thought it’d be fun to run 100 m since I’m more than 100 years old.”
Julia, popularly called 'Hurricane', finished the 100-m race in the USA Track and Field Outdoors Masters Championships in 40.12 seconds, beating the current certified world record set by women aged 100 years or older. However, that is not her personal best — at the Senior Games in Birmingham, she completed the dash in 39.62 seconds. According to The Washington Post, running gives her a sense of independence and accomplishment. In her words,
“I just like the feeling of being independent and doing something a little different and testing myself, trying to get better. I want to please my family is the other thing,” Hawkins said. “Having a momma that can do this pleases them, and it pleases me to please them.”
Image Credit: Runner's World