Ginette Bedard didn’t start running until she was 69 years old, but she’s more than made up for her late entry into the sport.
The 85-year-old who lives in Queens, NY became the oldest woman to cross the finish line in the 2018 NYC Marathon. She ran the 26.2-mile iconic course in 6 hours, 19 minutes and 1 second, and didn’t train specifically for the race. She didn’t have to. She runs three hours a day (or 12 miles) for 365 days a year.
“It’s an addiction, a habit, and that’s all,” she told NDTV. “I have plenty of time, I’m retired, my husband is no longer around. What do I do? So I run, it passes the time.”
And, even when her husband was around, he would help ensure she got her 12 miles in.
“I remember one time, there was so much snow, her husband came out and shoveled her a path,” a neighbor once told AFP. “He went to the park and he dug out a track so she could continue her running even though we had two-and-a-half-feet of snow.”
Elle l’a fait ! Ginette Bedard a terminé son 16eme marathon de New York en 6H19, à 85 ans pic.twitter.com/ba7w2X9gUb
— Thomas Urbain (@ThomasUrbain1) November 4, 2018
Bedard was born in France, but immigrated to the United States in the 1970s, and is now a U.S. citizen. At the age of 72, she ran the NYC Marathon in a blazing 3 hours, 46 minutes, which was an age group world record until it was broken.
On her daily runs, whether it’s sunny, raining or snowing, she doesn’t listen to music. Instead, she runs to the beat of her own thoughts and memories.
“I don’t want anything in my ears,” she said. “I just think — about my youth, my life in France, America, a bit about everything — bills, money!”
Her daily routine isn’t a grind. She enjoys the time alone and loves that she has a place for her boundless energy to go.
“Not everyone has this desire, this enthusiasm, discipline and drive,” she said.
And certainly, not everyone can cross a marathon finish line at 85 looking spry.