Harriette Thompson ran Sunday’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon in San Diego in 7 hours, 24 minutes, and 36 seconds. Her time, on this planet rather than in the race, makes that a record.
The 92-year-old Charlotte, North Carolina, resident became the oldest woman to finish a marathon. She beat the old (younger) record holder by 36 days. Her time on Sunday calculates almost precisely to a 17-minute mile.
Thompson was born before television, Time magazine, and the first publicly-played talkie. One American marathon held in 1923 runs still today. San Diego boasted just 75,000 people back then. Today, 1.4 million call it home.
Johnny Kelley, an Olympian and two-time winner of the Boston Marathon, added to his legend by running as America’s oldest marathoner in America’s oldest marathon. But he ran his last Boston Marathon at 84 in 1992 before passing in 2004.
Thompson, a cancer survivor and former concert pianist, took up marathons in her seventies. She lost her husband this year but not the desire to compete.
She runs to raise money for cancer, an endeavor beneficial to her in more ways than one.
“I don’t think I’d be living today if I didn’t do this running,” she said, obliquely referencing the disease she overcame. “I’m helping them [cancer charities] and they’re kind of helping me.”