92-year-old becomes oldest woman to finish marathon

May 31, 2015, 4:12 PM

SAN DIEGO (AP) — A 92-year-old cancer survivor rocked her way into the record books Sunday, becoming the oldest woman to finish a marathon.

Harriette Thompson of Charlotte, North Carolina, completed Sunday’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon in San Diego in 7 hours, 24 minutes, 36 seconds. She was mobbed by well-wishers as she crossed the finish line.

“I’m fine, they’re really pampering me here,” Thompson said in a firm, joyful voice as people all around her shouted congratulations.

This was her 16th Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon and, by far, the hardest.

“It’s always harder but this year has been a bad year for me,” she said, adding her husband died in January following a lingering illness and she battled a staph infection in one of her legs.

“I couldn’t train very well because my husband was very ill and I had to be with him for some time and then when he died in January I had some treatments on my leg,” she said. “I was just really thrilled that I could finish today.”

The oldest woman to previously complete a marathon was Gladys Burrill, who was 92 years and 19 days old when she completed the 2010 Honolulu Marathon.

Thompson is 92 years, 65 days old, according to race organizers.

Despite her training woes, she nearly matched her finish time of last year, which was 7 hours, 7 minutes, 42 seconds. That set a record for a woman 90 or older, shattering the old one by more than an hour and a half.

A classically trained pianist who played three times at Carnegie Hall, Thompson says she mentally plays old piano pieces she had performed to help her get through the 26 miles, 385 yards.

She didn’t begin running marathons until she was in her 70s, after a member of her church approached her about being one of her sponsors in the marathon to raise money to fight leukemia and lymphoma.

“At that time I had lost several people in my family to cancer and I said, ‘Oh, maybe I should do that,” she recalled. “When I got out there the first year I just planned to walk it, but everybody else was running so I started to run with them.”

She isn’t sure if she’ll run again next year. But after last year’s race she wasn’t sure she’d run this one either.

She added she enjoys raising money for cancer research and figures the competition has helped keep her healthy.

“I don’t think I’d be living today if I didn’t do this running,” the cancer survivor said. “I’m helping them and they’re kind of helping me.”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

United States News

FILE - Mega Millions lottery tickets and a wager slip are displayed, Friday, Jan. 6, 2023, in Derry...
Arizona Sports

Drawing nears for $700M Powerball prize, 10th biggest in US

Another huge lottery jackpot will be on the line Saturday for players willing to put up $2 vs. daunting odds of actually winning the prize.
1 day ago
Chinese spy balloon flies above in Charlotte NC, United States on February 04, 2023. The Pentagon a...
Associated Press

US downs suspected Chinese spy balloon off the Carolina coast

The United States on Saturday downed a suspected Chinese spy balloon off the Carolina coast after it traversed sensitive military sites.
1 day ago
A high altitude balloon floats over Billings, Mont., on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023. The huge, high-alt...
Associated Press

Chinese balloon soars across US; Blinken scraps Beijing trip

A Chinese balloon sailing across the U.S. drew severe Pentagon accusations and sent excited or alarmed Americans outside with binoculars.
2 days ago
Protesters march Saturday, Jan. 28, 2023, in Memphis, Tenn., over the death of Tyre Nichols, who di...
Associated Press

6th officer fired after beating death of Tyre Nichols

A sixth Memphis officer was fired Friday after an internal police investigation showed he violated multiple department policies in the violent arrest of Tyre Nichols.
2 days ago
(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)...
Associated Press

Denver Court throws out Wyoming doctor’s pill convictions

A federal appeals court on Friday threw out the convictions of a doctor accused of overprescribing powerful pain medication and ordered a new trial for him.
2 days ago
A hiring sign is displayed at a restaurant in Rolling Meadows, Ill., Monday, Jan. 30, 2023. America...
Associated Press

A surprising burst of US hiring in January: 517,000 jobs

WASHINGTON (AP) — For nearly a year, the Federal Reserve has been on a mission to cool down the job market to help curb the nation’s worst inflation bout in four decades. The job market hasn’t been cooperating. Consider what happened in January: The government said Friday that employers added a sizzling 517,000 jobs last […]
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

(Pexels Photo)...

Sports gambling can be fun for adults, but it’s a dangerous game for children

While adults may find that sports gambling is a way to enhance the experience with more than just fandom on the line, it can be a dangerous proposition if children get involved in the activity.
...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet can improve everyday life

Quantum Fiber supplies unlimited data with speeds up to 940 mbps, enough to share 4K videos with coworkers 20 times faster than a cable.
...
Children’s Cancer Network

Children’s Cancer Network celebrates cancer-fighting superheroes, raises funds during September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Jace Hyduchak was like most other kids in his kindergarten class: He loved to play basketball, dress up like his favorite superheroes and jump as high as his pint-sized body would take him on his backyard trampoline.
92-year-old becomes oldest woman to finish marathon