92-Year-Old Becomes Oldest Woman to Finish Marathon

A 92-year-old cancer survivor has become the oldest woman to finish a marathon.

A 92-year-old cancer survivor has become the oldest woman to finish a marathon. 

Harriette Thompson of Charlotte, North Carolina, ran the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon in San Diego on Sunday with a 7 hour, 24 minute and 36 second unofficial race time.

"I'm amazed that they, that they're interested," Thompson said after her race. "I just feel I don't deserve this, but I'm enjoying it."

This is her 16th time running it, and last year she set a record when she finished the race in 7 hours, 7 minutes and 42 seconds, beating the previous record for a woman 90 or older by more than an hour and a half.

"Every year I write to my friends and say, this is my last year," she said. "And then I do another one."

She ran for her son, a captain in the Navy who was recently diagnosed with cancer. Thompson ran to raise money for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society. 

"What made it possible? Well, I guess the fact that I did have a little training before," Thompson said when asked about her secret to success. "I've done it before. So I thought if I did it before, maybe I can do it again." 

Thompson is a two-time cancer survivor who dealt with the loss of her husband and a staph infection in her legs while training for this year's race.

A classically trained pianist who played three times at Carnegie Hall, Thompson says she mentally plays old piano pieces she had performed to help her get through the 26.2 miles.

"I just don't think of myself being that unusual," she said. "I have a lot of people saying what an inspiration I am. That's nice to hear, good for something at this age."

The oldest woman to complete a marathon was Gladys Burrill, who was 92 years and 19 days old when she finished the 2010 Honolulu Marathon.

Thompson said she hopes she can run again. 

"I'm really pleased I can get through it," she said. 

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