Meet The Oldest Woman To Complete A Marathon, And She’s 92-Year-Old
Hariette Thompson of Charlotte, NC, became the oldest woman to finish a marathon last Sunday, May 31. Thompson, at 92 years and 65 days of age, completed San Diego’s Rock’n’Roll Marathon in 7 hours, 24 minutes and 36 seconds.
The previous age record belonged to Gladys Burrill, who finished the 2010 Honolulu Marathon at the age of 92 years and 19 days. This marks the second year in a row that Thompson has broken one of Burrill’s records. In the 2014 San Diego race, it was Burrill’s “fastest female nonagenarian” speed record that Thompson smashed.
Thompson, who first began running marathons at age 76, overcame severe obstacles on the road to this year’s record-breaking feat. She stopped training in 2014 to care for her husband of 67 years, Sydnor, as he battled cancer (he passed in January, 2015), and then lost more training time to a staph infection.
Thompson’s races have raised over $100,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. She herself has survived cancer twice in her life. A son, Sydnor III, was also recently diagnosed with the disease.
Another son, Brenneman (called Brenny), 56, is an integral part of Thompson’s team. In the past, Brenny has run alongside his mother, but this year he was there to support her along the way with encouragement, snacks, and protection from well-meaning fans seeking photos.
Thompson—a former concert pianist who has performed at Carnegie Hall and still enjoys playing in her Charlotte retirement home—says she mentally rehearses piano compositions as she runs, and credits the discipline of musical training with helping her focus during the 26-mile marathon courses.
“I believe this will be my last time,” Thompson told race organizers when asked if she’d be back in 2016, “but my friends remind me that I say that every year.”
92-Year-Old Marathoner Shares Her Experience for National Running Day| Newsweek
91-Year-Old Finishes San Diego Marathon| Runnersworld
This 92-year-old just became the oldest woman to run a marathon| Washington Post