Harriette Thompson, a 92-year-old marathon runner, has become the oldest woman to finish a race.
Thompson of Charlotte, North Carolina completed Sunday’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon in San Diego in 7 hours, 24 minutes, 36 seconds, landing her a new record for the oldest woman to finish a marathon.
“I’m fine, they’re really pampering me here,” Thompson, a cancer survivor, said as she was cheered on by fans, according to ESPN.
The race on Sunday marked her 16th Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon. This year was especially hard, however. She explained that her husband died in January, and she suffered from a staph infection in one of her legs, which slowed her down for a while.
“It’s always harder but this year has been a bad year for me,” she said. “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 continued. “I was just really thrilled that I could finish today.”
Despite her setbacks, Thompson managed to nearly match her finish time from last year, which was 7 hours, 7 minutes, 42 seconds. That time set a record for anyone 90 or over. The previous oldest woman to finish a marathon was Gladys Burrill, who was 92 years and 19-days-old when she finished the 2010 Honolulu Marathon. Thompson was 92 years, 65-days-old, according to the race organizers.
Thompson hasn’t always been a marathon runner. Actually, it wasn’t until her church approached her, while she was in her 70s, to be one of the sponsors in a marathon to raise money to fight leukemia and lymphoma, according to WRALSPORTSFAN.
“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.”
Thompson said the competitions have helped keep her healthy, and she enjoys raising money for cancer research.