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Can You Be a Competitive Sprinter at Any Age?

Absolutely, age need not be a barrier to competitive sprinting. With proper training, nutrition, and mindset, individuals can excel on the track well into their later years. Masters athletics provides a platform for older athletes to shine. Ready to lace up your spikes? Discover how you can ignite the track, no matter the number on your birthday cake. What's your next move?
Margaret Lipman
Margaret Lipman
Margaret Lipman
Margaret Lipman

Julia "Hurricane" Hawkins may have celebrated her 106th birthday in February, but that doesn't mean her sprinting career is over. In fact, it seems that she's just getting started.

Hawkins, a retired teacher from Baton Rouge, is the world record holder in the 100-meter sprint for women aged 105 and older. She earned this distinction last year at the Louisiana Senior Games, clocking in at 1:02.95. She is the only woman to have completed the sprint in that age category. Incredibly, some of her former students were there to witness her victory – many of them in their 90s.

At age 105, Julia Hawkins completed the 100-meter dash; she hopes to clock below one minute this year, aged 106.
At age 105, Julia Hawkins completed the 100-meter dash; she hopes to clock below one minute this year, aged 106.

However, Hawkins was disappointed not to earn a sub-one-minute time and vowed to return this year to improve upon her record. “I love to run, and I love being an inspiration to others. I want to keep running as long as I can. My message to others is that you have to stay active if you want to be healthy and happy as you age," Hawkins said. When she's not running, Hawkins enjoys socializing with friends, listening to audiobooks, fishing, and gardening – especially taking care of her bonsai trees.

The centenarian sprinter:

  • Hawkins previously held the 100-meter world record in the women's 100+ age group (39.62 seconds), but this was broken in August 2021 by Diane "Flash" Friedman, who completed the race in 36.71 seconds.

  • Hawkins is no stranger to success, or to competition. In her 80s, she earned gold medals in cycling at the National Senior Games. She stopped when hills became too challenging and her eyesight worsened – and when there was no one left in her age group to compete with.

  • Last year, American sprinter Kathy Bergen broke an age record in the women's 80+ category in the 100-meters, clocking an amazing time of just 16.26.

Margaret Lipman
Margaret Lipman
Margaret Lipman is a teacher and blogger who frequently writes for WiseGEEK about topics related to personal finance, parenting, health, nutrition, and education. Learn more...
Margaret Lipman
Margaret Lipman
Margaret Lipman is a teacher and blogger who frequently writes for WiseGEEK about topics related to personal finance, parenting, health, nutrition, and education. Learn more...

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    • At age 105, Julia Hawkins completed the 100-meter dash; she hopes to clock below one minute this year, aged 106.
      At age 105, Julia Hawkins completed the 100-meter dash; she hopes to clock below one minute this year, aged 106.