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June 3, 2017

94-year-old marathoner to attempt world record, in a very different world

Harriette Thompson, c’mon and raise up!

This weekend, Charlotte-resident Harriette Thompson will attempt to finish the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Half Marathon. If she succeeds, at 94 years old, she will become the oldest known woman to complete the distance. Running 13.1 miles is a tall glass of water for the vast majority of Americans, let alone for a nonagenarian, but Thompson boasts an impressive pedigree. Two years ago, at 92, she became the oldest woman to ever run a full marathon (also at Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego).

With the recent passing of masters marathoning legend Ed Whitlock, the world can use another ageless wonder keeping the dream alive. The fact that Thompson hails from North Carolina and affords this blogger the opportunity to embed a Petey Pablo video in this post about her? All the better.

But regardless of whether or not she succeeds in finishing this weekend, we should at the very least recognize how fucking cool that a out there, still jogging into her mid-90s, is a woman who was born into an entirely different world, both from a running standpoint and otherwise.

In 1923…

  • The world had yet to witness a sub-four-minute mile. I don’t know what milers were doing back then, but it seems like they were just hanging around and not trying that hard. Breaking four is 90% mental. I could do it if I wanted to. I just don’t wanna.
  • Denmark’s Askel Jensen held the world record in the marathon: 2:40:47. Once again, past men were too busy with fun things like brewing moonshine and suffering from typhoid to get anything done physically.
  • The average American’s life expectancy was 56.1 for the fellas and 58.5 for the gals. Nicely done, Harriette, on coming dang close to doubling that.
  • The Warren G. Harding presidency was giving way to the Calvin Coolidge presidency, after Harding kicks the bucket mid-term. Both of these men were awful presidents.
  • The Hollywood sign, the OG Yankee Stadium, and the Walt Disney Company? All built/founded that year. Two out of three remain–but all three were truly evil during their peaks.
  • We were in the throws of prohibition. Who cares.
  • Beautiful Boy Bob Barker was brought into this world.
  • Some intrepid dinguses cracked open King Tut’s tomb. Found a sarcophagus. Not bad.
  • Notorious dip-shit Adolph Hitler tried to take over Germany for the very first time.
  • Apparently women’s one-piece swimsuits first became a thing. I can’t really imagine what preceded them. Three pieces?

And I guarantee that not a single person on earth in 1923 would have believed you if you’d told them a female-baby born that year would go on to run marathons and half-marathons as an elderly woman.

Way to go, Harriette–nothing as cool as defying the entire world’s expectations.

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