It’s one thing to get better with age. It’s another to get faster. Just look at Julia Hawkins, the 103-year-old retired schoolteacher who collected more gold medals after running the 50- and 100-meter dash at the National Senior Games in Albuquerque, NM.
According to the National Senior Games, Hawkins, whose nickname is the “Hurricane,” is the oldest woman to ever compete on an American track. And, with a time of 46.07 in her most recent 100-meter dash, she’s a source of inspiration for those at any age.
The Louisiana native didn’t start running until she was 100. Before that, she took up cycling at the age of 81. Hawkins keeps herself active everyday, but reserves most of her all-out sprinting for competition.
“I run on the street by my house, occasionally, not often,” she told The New York Times. “As I get older, I feel like I only have so many 100-yard dashes left, and I don’t want to waste them in practice. Can you imagine that? I have markers on the street to show me where 50 yards is, and where 100 is, and I go by that. But I don’t practice much. I’m just pretty good at moving around and I do it when I have to, whatever I have to do.”
She was married to her late husband for 70 years, and is a mother of four, grandmother of three and great-grandmother of one. She says her family is what she’s most proud of in life.
“Those are things you just can’t beat that. This other (the running) is just a little icing on the cake,” she said.
As for her most recent competition, Hawkins hopes others take a page out of her book when it comes to staying active.
“I hope I can inspire them to be healthy and to realize that you can still be doing it at this kind of age,” she said. “Every day when you’re 103 is a miracle.”
Take it from the mouth of the Hurricane.