‘The Moral High Ground’: 92-Year-Old Enters Guinness Record Book as Oldest Female Marathon Finisher
A 92-year-old woman has entered the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest female ever to finish a marathon. She successfully completed the Honolulu Marathon in Hawaii last December, finishing in 9 hours, 53 minutes and 16 seconds. She missed out on the world record for the 90-94 age group, which currently stands at 8:53:08
Gladys “Glady” Burrill, who was born two weeks after the end of World War I in 1918, when Charlie Chaplin was tops at the silent movie box office and a gallon of gas cost 8 cents, ran her first marathon in 2004 at the tender age of 86. “I happened to be here with my husband in 2003 and I saw the fireworks and all of the sudden I was so emotional about it I thought well I’m going to have to do it the next year,” she told KHON-2. And she did. Burrill finished each Honolulu Marathon from 2004-2007, but the death of her husband stressed her so much that she dropped out of the 2008 race with only a mile left to finish. Severe stomach cramps forced her out of the 2009 race at mile 16.
“So it was a struggle even though I am a positive person to know I could finish this time,” she told KITV-4. And she did, again. “I was more relaxed,” she explained. “I didn’t have the stress that I had before. This just felt so much better.”
Honolulu Marathon president Dr. Jim Barahal called Burrill’s feat “absolutely unbelievable.” “It is inspirational and to anyone who has an elderly parent of perhaps has lost someone to realize what she is doing at her age. It is just astonishing. What an inspiration,” he said.
Burrill has now been entered into the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest woman to ever finish a marathon.
“I was raised on a farm, a poor shy little girl and to think how I would ever end up in the position in the Guiness,” she marveled.
Burrill continues to train for her next marathon and hopes to climb 19,298 foot (5,882 meter) Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. Her advice for other aspiring marathoners over 90? “Think positive and take care of yourself,” she told KITV-4. “And, I have never drank or smoked and I think that makes a big difference.”
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