Mature Runner: Some Inspiration From Julia Hawkins
By David Summerfield
This article might just reveal too much about my overly strong desire to “stay in shape,” or at least be able to run a decent 100-meter dash! (my goodness, that’s a long way from doing marathons … sheeesh). This never-ending search for inspiration from World Record holders led me to Julia Hawkins. Now if you’re sick and tired of these kinds of articles, please let me know, or tell the editor Mira Brody to not put these articles into the BSWD newsletter any more – please!
What really got me about Julia Hawkins was her response to an interviewer after she had run a World Record 100 meter race in 62 seconds. (I mean, I can do that!) But wait, she’s a fit 105 year-old retired elementary school teacher from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The interviewer asked if she was worried about her competition that day. With delight she said “No, I wasn’t worried because the other runner wasn’t an athlete. And I am!” What bravura 🙂 And she was serious. Her grandkids talked her into entering a Masters Track & Field competition, and she agreed – at that time she was a “fit” 100-year old. She amazed everyone by running a 42 second 100 meter. Her goal was to run 100 meters in 100 seconds, and had no trouble. Then she entered the shot put event, and got back into the record books – by tossing a 2kg (4.5 pound) shot 2.77 meters (over 9 feet). She had so much fun, she was again talked into doing it at age 105. I finally discovered why it took her 62 seconds to run the 100. It was a cold, blustery day, and she went out there anyway, and ran 20 seconds slower, but also got into a new age category (105 and up). I’ve scoured the internet to find out if she has done it again at age 106, but all I can find is that on her 106th birthday (Feb 10, 2022) she wanted to go at it again. And we’re almost to her 107th birthday.
Julia Hawkins at 103 years at the National Senior Games from doyouremember.com.
This whole story has got me eyeing the nearest track to where I live, and it’s a cinder track in Absarokee (27 miles away), and the snow has melted off….so what am I waiting for? Living far from an urban community and their modern tracks, I have fun driving by the Absarokee Husky’s high school track. Of course it isn’t marked in any way – just a nice smoothish red cinder surface – I imagine it’s most likely a 440 yard track, so no world records could be made here too easily. Oh, that’s right, silly me, I’m not 105 yet – though somedays it feels as if I am.
Here’s the cinder track picture, taken Jan 22nd, looking totally unused since last spring’s track meets.
Of course I have to mention Julia’s diet – she eats a “balanced” diet of yogurt, soups and salads. And being from Louisiana, her most favorite food items are fried crabs and oysters. (Being from the Northern climes, crabs/oysters are definitely NOT on my list of favorite foods! If I were to be asked by some reporter after having set another world record on this track, I would have to say it’s my own recipe of mac & cheese – or a cheese enchilada from Fiesta Mexicana).
I didn’t mention Julia was very active in the Senior Olympics – bicycling. That kept her active, which she has always done. And she obviously thrives on competition. But as the 100 year bracket gets nearer, the competition does thin out a bit, so the chance of winning gets better and better. Do I really have to wait that long? Sheeesh. Thank goodness I’ve found that Fiesta Mexicana restaurants are all over the country, so I won’t waste away while the years go by 🙂
There’s that Fiesta Mexicana cheese enchilada and Corona, yum 🙂
Back to the Senior Olympics, I couldn’t stay away from their Montana nordic races until I moved away from Bozeman. And I can’t justify driving that far just to ski a 5km/10km x-country race. Hmmm, that does bring my genuine dedication to maintaining my fitness level into question (so I can excel in the 100m dash in 30 years!) Julia Hawkins’ point is that she is an athlete, and that means she works a lot, and thus is ready for world records any time. Well, I do “go out” on rigorous daily walks. I constantly push myself, to pound every ounce of fitness into this ‘old bod. So, I’ll be ready. Here’s a quote from Julia in Runner’s World: “I do a little running around each day—not a certain amount or time—but just to keep everything going….I don’t want to waste too many 100-yard dashes, because I only have so many left.” Oh, the joy of being a 105 year old. And here’s a great picture of the women’s 100 meter official start at the Louisiana Senior Games. I just love the image of these three 100+ women wanting to make history.
Start of 100m world record run pinterest.com Julia is on the right, looking oh so confident!