Harriette Thompson, aged 92 and 65 days, completed the 2015 San Diego Marathon in an impressive 7 hours, 24 minutes and 36 seconds.

She made world news. Some have questioned why the ’65 days’ has to be added. The San Diego Union-Tribune explains that:

The previous oldest woman to complete a marathon was 92 years, 19 days old.

The oldest male to run a marathon was India’s Fauja Singh who completed a 2011 Toronto marathon at the age of 100.

Thompson lives in a retirement home in Charlotte, North Carolina. She is a former concert pianist.

She is a mould-breaker in many ways. The Union-Tribune had a more in-depth profile of her on May 30, 2015.

Thompson, born in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, was the only daughter. Her four brothers — all older than she — tormented her when she was growing up, especially when she played the piano.

She began playing the instrument at the age of four and was performing by the time she was seven. As a teenager, she rode her bicycle to and from lessons: a 26-mile round trip.

As an adult, she gave three recitals at New York’s Carnegie Hall.

She attended Dickinson College in Carlisle and enjoyed rollerskating to class. The Dean of Women told her that ladies did not engage in that type of thing. Undeterred, Thompson said it was the best way for her to get to class on time!

She married a man named Sydnor who became a judge in North Carolina. Together, they had five children. When the children were old enough, Thompson took them to spend a year in Austria on two occasions. She wanted them to learn German and explore European culture. Sydnor stayed behind. Before his death earlier in 2015, he said:

She’s absolutely independent.

Sydnor battled cancer for a long time before his death on January 27. Despite Thompson’s independence, she cared for and deeply loved her husband. She is so grateful that he died in peace, without pain.

She began walking in marathons at the age of 76, when she was involved in the church choir. One of her friends said she was taking part in marathons for charity. The rest is history. The 2015 marathon was her 16th. She raised $90,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Thompson is no stranger to cancer herself. She has suffered both jaw and skin cancer. Several family members also died of the disease.

When many of us are sitting around moping, let us remember the excellent example of Harriette Thompson. For those of us who are able, let’s get up and get moving!

Advertisements