Hearing things like “you’re never too old” or “age is just a number” may sound quaint, but every so often someone comes around to remind you the sentiment is true. Case in point: Julia Hawkins, who just set a track-and-field record despite being older than the polio vaccine.
At age 105, Hawkins—nicknamed “Hurricane”—set a world record in the 100-meter race on November 6 at the Louisiana Senior Games in Hammond, Louisiana. The centenarian crossed the finish line at 1:02:95.
A onetime educator, the Louisiana native first took up racing at 101. She quickly set world records in the 100-plus division, running the 50-meter dash in 46.07 seconds in 2019. Her training consists of maneuvering around her garden.
Owing to her age, Hawkins is sometimes the only competitor on the track and is challenging her own records. But that’s not always the case. Her 100-meter world track record for the 101-104 age group was broken by Diane “Flash” Friedman at the Michigan Senior Olympics. The two are expected to meet head-to-head at the National Senior Games in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, between May 10 and May 23, 2022. Hawkins will be 106 by then.
Hawkins had a message to go along with her victory: “Stay healthy and keep running. I'm going to keep running as long as I can. I find it fun, and I like doing it.”