94-year old Harriette Thompson, who in 2015 became the oldest women to finish a marathon, has passed away in Charlotte, North Carolina A mother of five and a grandmother to 10, Thompson was injured after having a fall on October 6. Her son, who has run alongside her for several said that she was undergoing treatment in a hospice.
Thompson was a two-time cancer survivor and was a regular at the San Diego Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon. In fact, this is something she has been doing for the past 16 years and raising money along the way. In all, she has raised more than $115,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma society to date.
In 2015, at the age of 92, Thompson broke the record for the oldest woman to run a marathon previously held by Gladys Burrill. She was making headlines again for completing this year’s San Diego Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon on June 4 in 3:42:56, also a record for the oldest woman to complete the 13.1-mile distance. She had a lot of fan followers because running marathons were something she has been doing for the past 16 years and raising money along the way for the Leukemia and Lymphoma society.“I could hear my name being shouted the whole way, I suppose I’m a legacy, at least that’s what they say.” she told Runner’s World after completing the San Diego Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon earlier this year.
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. She first took up running at the age of 76. Previous to being a runner, Thompson was a concert pianist who performed at the Carnegie Hall. Even after taking up running, she would still make time to play throughout her life, including in recent years for the residents of her retirement community.
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. 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.”