SAN DIEGO – Harriette Thompson became the oldest woman to complete a marathon in today’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon, at 92 years, 93 days old.
Thompson, of Charlotte, North Carolina, completed the 26-mile, 385-yard course in seven hours, 24 minutes, 36 seconds.
The previous record was set by Gladys Burill, who was 92 years, 19 days old when she completed the Honolulu Marathon in 2010.
Prior to the race, Thompson said of the attention she has been receiving: “I’m going to be disappointed if it stops. I’m enjoying it! I love being pampered.”
Thompson began running when she was 76. Today’s marathon was her 16th. She is a two-time cancer survivor who entered the race to raise awareness and funds for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Her husband died of cancer in January and her son just began his own round of chemotherapy.
She has raised more than $90,000 for the society, according to race organizers. Donations to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society on behalf of Team Harriette can be made here.
“I’ll be praying for him the whole time,” she said before Sunday’s race.
“Harriette is an inspiration to all of us,” said 2014 Boston Marathon winner Meb Keflezighi, a San Diego-based runner. “To finish a marathon at 92? Wow, that’s impressive.”
So what’s Thompson’s secret? Apparently, it’s just keeping it simple.
“I put one foot down and then another one. I love to run,” Thompson said.
Thompson finished the full marathon in an unofficial time of 7:24:36, with a pace of just under 17 minutes per mile.
Thompson is a former concert pianist who played at New York’s Carnegie Hall three times.
“I do think the discipline required to play the piano has helped my running,” Thompson said.