‘Like Lindbergh’ Remarks 92-Year-Old Cancer Survivor After Historic Marathon Finish

Paul Nestor/AP
Paul Nestor/AP

Arms raised triumphantly to the sky, 92-year-old two-time cancer survivor Harriette Thompson became the oldest woman on record to complete a marathon Sunday in San Diego’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon.

“I’m amazed that they, that they’re interested,” she said just after finishing to jubilant applause, reported NBC 7 San Diego. Thompson finished the race in little more than 7 hours and 24 minutes.

The San Diego Union-Tribune noted her reflection on the celebration that followed her crossing the finish line: “I thought it was like [Charles] Lindbergh coming in after his flight.”

“Every year I write to my friends and say, this is my last year,” NBC 7 quoted Thompson as saying. “And then I do another one.”

Thompson ran the race for her son, a Navy captain recently diagnosed with cancer, reported NBC 7.

A former concert pianist, she didn’t begin running marathons until the age of 76, the U-T noted. She runs to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’ for which she has garnered a combined $90,000 thus far. When the race gets tough, she says she starts recalling piano performances in her head to make it through.

This isn’t Thompson’s first race. She has run San Diego’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon 16 times now, and last year she set the world marathon record for a woman age 90 or older, according to Competitor.com. The 7 hours, 7 minutes, and 42 seconds beat the prior record by almost three hours!

Before Thompson’s finish Sunday, Gladys Burrill held the record for oldest woman to finish a marathon at 92 years, 19 days old in 2010’s Honolulu Marathon, reported the Associated Press. Thompson was 92 years, 65 days old as of Sunday, say race organizers.

Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana


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