Some advice from a 106-year-old runner

Running is ageless, and in the case of Julia Hawkins, nothing could be truer. At the age of 101 in 2017, she set the world record in the 100m in 40 seconds 12′. Today, at 106 and consistent with her age, Hawkins continues to run and set world records. As her colleague Ginette Bedard, who ran her 17th New York City Marathon in 2019 at the age of 86, said,“One of the positives of running at this age is that there is not much competition.”

Hawkins takes it from another angle and says that after a certain age-and particularly at her age-you cannot expect to improve on your own records. You can always give it your all, though!

And if old age is also associated with wisdom, Julia is lavish with advice that, on closer inspection, don’t need a centenarian to put into practice. Let’s see which ones.

Try new things

“I’m constantly trying new things, not backing down from invitations and the chance to meet new people. When I was 100 years old, I thought it was time to try running the 100 meters and I did. I’ve been in love with running ever since.”

Follow your passions

You have to have a lot of them because they keep you active, not only mentally but also physically. She, for example, is fond of bird watching and gardening, and it was the latter passion that made her suspect that she had a knack for running because at the ringing of the phone she was always ready to rush into the house to answer it.

Appreciate the magical moments

When she was born, things were much simpler and the world was slower. There were no cell phones or television or Internet. That is why one would be amazed at a sunset or shooting stars. Today she does the same and invites us to never lose the magic that is there in moments like these.

Be adventurous

Adventure is an excursion from the track, it is the conscious choice of what is unknown. When you are faced with a fork in the road between a path you know and a new one, don’t hesitate.

Family first

Julia was married for 70 years to Murray, who died in 2013 at age 95. All four children they have had lead very active lives even though none run. One of the daughters, however, competes in the same Senior Games in which she also participates, but in the specialty of swimming. United in age and sport, in short.

Treat yourself well

Self-care has, for Julia, a twofold meaning. As a lifelong sportswoman (before running, she always led an active life by biking at least 5-10 miles a day, even winning 6 gold medals in the specialty at the Senior Games), she advises to be equally so but also to treat oneself well, for example, by eating well and without much fuss, at least once in a while. In fact, she says that she is particularly a good eater and loves the seafood of Louisiana, where she lives: when oysters, shrimp and crabs are available, she doesn’t shy away :)

Be an inspiration to others

Accustomed to success, Julia still marvels at the strength of the example she can set. In short, inspiring others gives her extra motivation to keep at it, knowing how important a healthy and active life is.

How could we ever blame her?

(Main image credits: Senior Games’ IG – Via Outside)





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