"I'm very happy to offer all of this crowd a nice example of what you can do for yourself," Ida Keeling said
Ida Keeling set a new world record for the 100-meter dash on Saturday, just days before her 101st birthday.
As the oldest competitor in the 80 and older Masters Mixed 100-meter dash at the Penn Relays in Philadelphia, Keeling set a new world record for her 100-plus age group, WPVI reports. The great-great-grandmother from New York City felt so good about her 1:17 finish time that she celebrated with a few pushups.
“It was wonderful,” she told reporters after the race. “I’m very happy to offer all of this crowd a nice example of what you can do for yourself, and I thank God every day for my blessings.”
Keeling’s daughter, Shelley Keeling, entered her mother in her first race at age 67. The lifelong track and field athlete hoped that running would help her mother heal after two of her sons died in unsolved killings, The New York Times reports.
After her first race, a 5K through Brooklyn, Keeling found that running did offer some relief. “I just threw off all of the bad memories, the aggravation, the stress,” she recalled to the Times.
She has since traveled around the globe for running competitions and holds several world records including the fastest time for American women ages 95 to 99 in the 60-meter dash.
“I was pretty fast as a girl. What makes me faster now is that everyone else slowed down,” she explained.
Keeling told the newspaper that her secrets of longevity are a diet of whole grains and vegetables, an hour of exercise each day and a strict policy of self-sufficiency she learned during the Great Depression. “I wash, cook, iron, scrub, clean, mop and shop,” she said.
Saturday’s race may signal the end of Keeling’s running career, but she’s far from finished claiming world records. Her daughter has some new goals in mind. “She’s quite strong, and there’s no records in any of the powerlifting, bench, squat, and deadlift,” Shelley told Runner’s World.