Harriette Thompson is 91 years old, has run 15 marathons since 1998, raised $90,000 for cancer research, and just broke a record for the fastest marathon in her age group.
Still, she doesn’t find her running all that impressive.
“I’ve only done one marathon a year,” Thomspon tells the Good News Blog, as if that weren’t a significant accomplishment.
Thompson began running marathons when she was 76 as a way to raise money for cancer research. Considering she’s lost many family members to the disease, she figured this was the best way to make a difference.
Her latest run was the 2014 Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon on Sunday, which she completed in 7 hours, 7 minutes and 42 seconds, breaking the US record for the fastest marathon run in the 90-94 age group. The previous record was held by a 90-year-old runner in Portland, Oregon, who ran a marathon in 8:53:08, according to USA Track & Field.
Furthermore, Thompson ran without even training, as she’s currently going through radiation on her legs to get rid of minor skin cancer cells.
“My doctor and I agreed I should have waited to run the marathon until I wasn’t in bandages, so I was amazed that I even finished,” she comments. “It was a complete surprise.”
A cancer survivor herself, Thompson runs specifically to raise money for people with leukemia.
“Everybody in my family died of some sort of cancer, so I was interested in doing research to try and help remedy that disease,” she explains. “They’ve done a lot! I’ve raised over $90,000 so far, and I am real pleased. My friends are generous.”
She adds, “It’s very satisfying. I find it’s that every time I run, it’s helping a little bit.”