August 18 2017
One runner shares her long history with ultrarunning and explains how the sport helped her heal from a major surgical mistake.
Everyone heard the remarkable story that went viral last year at the Suja Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon, when then-91-year-old Harriette Thompson crossed the finish line of the marathon and broke the world record for fastest female over 90 to complete that distance. What’s more—she crushed the previous mark by nearly 3 hours.
The Team in Training (TNT) participant, who has raised more than $90,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, is at it again, and when she finishes on May 31 in front of roaring spectators lining 13th Street in downtown SD, she will be the oldest woman ever to complete a 26.2-mile distance. Between her impressive 16 Rock ‘n’ Roll finishes in San Diego, her piles of fundraising dollars raised for charity and her win over two bouts of cancer, Thompson is the epitome of inspirational—even if she doesn’t necessarily think so.
“Oh, it’s not unusual,” Thompson said to Competitor.com. “I think all you have to do is get to 90-something and you get all sorts of attention.”
Surprisingly the marathoning sweetheart has only ever completed 11 miles, just one digit higher than her number of grandkids, for a long run in preparation for her race every year; she aims to save it for the race. The grandma and mother of five will be the story of the weekend when she crosses the line at Petco Park, and the thunder of the crowds’ cheers will undoubtedly jostle the entire Gaslamp Quarter of America’s Finest City.
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society is the title charity for the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego event, bringing in hundreds of TNT participants every year and raising millions of dollars for blood cancers.