By Marty Graham
SAN DIEGO (Reuters) - A 91-year-old woman ran a San Diego marathon on the weekend in record time for her age group, also becoming the oldest person ever to finish the race, despite lamenting she was unable to train properly because of cancer treatments.
Harriette Thompson, who ran her first marathon at age 76, set a U.S. record on Sunday for the fastest finish in her 90-and-over age group, finishing the 26.2-mile Rock'n'Roll San Diego Marathon in seven hours, seven minutes and 42 seconds, according to race organizer Dan Cruz.
"I'm elated," the North Carolina resident told Reuters on Monday. "I'm pretty active but I didn't really train for this one because I was treating for skin cancer."
Thompson also became the second oldest person to complete a U.S. marathon and the oldest to finish the San Diego race.
The previous speed record in Thompson's age group was set by Gladys Burrill in 2010, when the then-92-year-old finished the Honolulu marathon in nine hours and 53 minutes, according to Guinness World Records.
Thompson, who sat out the marathon last year because of health issues after finishing the race in 2012 in just over six hours, was one of about 25,000 runners on the 26.2-mile course, including her 55-year-old son, Brenny Thompson.
Thompson had radiation treatment for skin cancer on her legs in April, leaving her with sores that she covered with white tights and bandages, which hindered her training.
Thompson said she had no plans to stop running.
"I'll be back next year if I'm still here at all," she said. "But I'm definitely going to train next year. This is the only time I ever attempted to do the race without training, and I sure am feeling it today."
(Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Peter Cooney)
- Athletics, Track & Field