This Sunday in San Diego, a marathon was not just a race, it was an historic event. At the Rock ’n’ Roll Marathon, one of the most popular runs in USA, Harriette Thompson became the oldest woman to run a marathon. The 92-year-old North Carolina native completed the full distance, and beat Gladys Burrill’s record from the 2010 Honolulu Marathon.

As you may have guessed though, the event is not just a one-off for Thompson. In fact this is something she has been doing for the past 16 years and raising money along the way, as Runners World reports. In all, she has raised more than $100,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma society.

Since 1999, when she started running the San Diego marathon, Thompson has missed just one race. “A friend of mine was going to walk it, so I thought, ‘Well I can do that,’ and I got into it,” she was quoted as saying by the publication.

Thompson has raised over $100,000 for charities through her marathon runs (Image: Paul Nestor)
Thompson has raised over $100,000 for charities through her marathon runs (Image: Paul Nestor)

Many of Thompson’s family and friends have died of cancer, including her husband Sydnor, who passed away in January at the age of 90. She herself has been battling cancer. “That makes it personal, something that I really feel is important.”

Thompson often runs on weekends, and has several workout options at her retirement community. As someone ‘who always loved to move fast’, Thompson was always a sports enthusiast and knows that heady feeling that you get after a long run. “I think if I can do it, anybody can do it, because I wasn’t trained to be a runner. But I have also found that it’s very invigorating. I feel like a million dollars when I’m finished.”

Main Image: Ryan Bethke

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