One hundred-year-old Ida Keeling electrified the crowd at the Penn Relays on Saturday, April 30, 2016, by completing the 100-meter dash in 1 minute, 17.33 seconds, setting the world record for the fastest 100-meter by a woman 100 years and older. There is no data on USA Track and Field and masters athletics websites for a previous record holder.
In an interview with NBC Sports' Carolyn Manno after the race, an event for athletes 80 and older, Keeling said, "I'll be 101 in a couple of weeks. I've never seen nothing like this crowd. Maybe that's what the excitement was."
Keeling seems to embody all of the stories we've written about the joy of being active and involved after "retirement" at age 65. For some folks that's the end. For those of us who are lucky enough to find a new passion or continue to find joy in the work we've pursued over a lifetime, there are no words that adequately convey how meaningful that is.
Keeling's advice? "Love yourself, do what you have to do and what you want to do. Eat for nutrition, not for taste. And exercise at least once a day."
Can you believe this? At age 101, Julia Hawkins recently won the gold medal in the 50-meter dash at the National Seniors Games in Birmingham, Alabama, defeating a field of women in their 90s — just a bunch of kids! Hawkins, who makes her home in Ponchatoula, La., about 50 miles north of New Orleans, also competed in the 100 meter race, but we don't have the the results of that race.
If I had a hat on, I would take it off to these ladies who are living proof that age is no barrier to accomplishment.
Beau Weisman, Editor