103-year-old Louisiana runner becomes oldest woman to compete on American track

103-year-old Louisiana runner becomes oldest woman to compete on American track

At 103, Julia “Hurricane” Hawkins has cemented her title as the oldest woman to compete on an American track after finishing the 50 and 100-metre dashes at the National Senior Games in New Mexico.

The Louisiana resident already holds the world record for her age group in the 100-metre dash. She did not beat her previous best at the games on Tuesday, but crossed the line in just over 46 seconds.

On Monday, she was clocked at 21.06 in the 50-metre event, which appears to be a Senior Games record for the women’s 100-plus age division. That is because she is the first to compete in that category.

A combination of things keep the retired teacher going, from gardening around her home in Baton Rouge to the challenges of competition.

“I keep active all the time,” she said. “I have an acre of land. I work in it all the time. I have 30 bonsai bushes – some are 40 or 50 years old. That keeps me busy.”

She started cycling competitively in her 80s, participating in the senior Olympics. When she became the only competitor in her division, her children suggested she try running. She liked the idea of competing in the 100-metre dash at the age of 100.

Her knees, back and hips feel fine, and she credits years of cycling for her strong legs. But she says her eyesight is troubling her.

“I keep worrying about that. You feel a little less able when something like this happens,” she told the Albuquerque Journal. “I’m hoping I can see well enough to stay in the white lines.”

(Brit Huckabay/National Senior Games)
(Brit Huckabay/National Senior Games)

Born on February 9 1916, Ms Hawkins graduated with a teaching degree from Louisiana State University in 1938, where she met her future husband, Murray Hawkins. She taught in Honduras while he served in the Navy.

After surviving the bombing of Pearl Harbor, he asked her to marry him and they had four children.

She has a simple goal on the track: “I hope I’m inspiring them to be healthy and to realise you can still be doing it at this kind of an age.”

A record 13,712 athletes are participating in this year’s Senior Games, which will conclude on June 25. New Mexico governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, local officials, and organisers celebrated the athletes during a special event on Wednesday night.

- Press Association

More on this topic

Rising economy sees increase in cocaine useRising economy sees increase in cocaine use

John O’Shea joins Reading coaching staffJohn O’Shea joins Reading coaching staff

447 people waiting for beds in hospitals around the country447 people waiting for beds in hospitals around the country

'We have a lot of work to do' – Tipperary Camogie boss Niamh Lillis after their win over Meath'We have a lot of work to do' – Tipperary Camogie boss Niamh Lillis after their win over Meath

More in this Section

US police are asking criminals not to commit crime because it is too hotUS police are asking criminals not to commit crime because it is too hot

'Lowry’s on fire, Portrush is terrified': Watch as golf fans celebrate Shane Lowry's third round finish'Lowry’s on fire, Portrush is terrified': Watch as golf fans celebrate Shane Lowry's third round finish

Missing toddler had driven himself to local fair on toy tractorMissing toddler had driven himself to local fair on toy tractor

TripAdvisor quotes LGBT+ hits in legal threat to Straight Pride organisersTripAdvisor quotes LGBT+ hits in legal threat to Straight Pride organisers


Lifestyle

We’ve all had that feeling at some stage as we step off fast amusement park ride, or simply spin around for fun; that feeling of dizziness and disorientation and finding it difficult to stay upright. But why do we feel dizzy when we spin?Appliance Of Science: Why do we feel dizzy when we spin around?

Padraic Killeen reviews Epiphany from the Town Hall Theatre, Galway.Epiphany Review: Not a straightforward adaptation of Joyce’s scenario

More From The Irish Examiner