SAN DIEGO — Harriette Thompson, 94, already holds the world record for being the oldest woman to complete a full marathon. This Sunday, she became the oldest woman to complete a half during the San Diego Rock ‘N’ Roll Marathon.
Among the thousands of people who ran the marathon Sunday, one special runner from North Carolina, who has been traveling to San Diego for over 17 years to participate, crossed the finish line and made history again.
But setting records is nothing new. Thompson, became the oldest woman to complete a full marathon when she finished the 2015 San Diego Rock ’N’ Roll Marathon at the young age of 92.
“I guess it’s unusual but I don’t really know why people make such a big deal… I feel like I did when I was 16, but I just can’t move as fast,” Thompson added. “I’m sort of numb. Ha ha. It feels great! I just am so happy that I was able to do it.”
Thompson said life is very much like a marathon, there are ups and downs. Sometimes stuff gets in the way and you have to decide whether you’re going to keep going.
“There were some nice stretches and there were some big hills,” said Thompson. “The whole experience was enjoyable, except for the potholes.”
And it’s not only the Rock ’N’ Roll Marathon that the two-time cancer survivor and grandmother runs, but the San Diego Race for Leukemia and Lymphoma which she’s run over 16 times since 1999, missing just the 2013 race as she battled cancer.
“If you feel up to it go for it,” said Thompson.
Thompson admits it’s not the record setting that keeps her going. It’s the thousands of dollars she’s helped raise through her running that are going toward cancer research.
“I want to thank everybody who was so generous and gave me money. I made quite a bit this year, for leukemia and lymphoma and that’s the whole reason I’m running,” said Thompson.
To date Thompson has raised more than $115,000 running these marathons for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and says people can still donate to her cause.