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A 105-year-old runner created a new age bracket for the 100m — and set the record

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A screenshot of Julia "Hurricane" Hawkins running the 100-meter dash at the 2021 Louisiana Senior Games.
National Senior Games

A screenshot of Julia "Hurricane" Hawkins running the 100-meter dash at the 2021 Louisiana Senior Games.

Don't bet against Julia "Hurricane" Hawkins.

The retired Louisiana teacher just became the first female track and field athlete in the 105+ age bracket to clock a time in the 100-meter dash.

Hawkins crossed the finish line in 1:02:95, a slightly slower time than she'd hoped for.

"It was wonderful to see so many family members and friends. But I wanted to do it in less than a minute," she said after the race, according to the National Senior Games Association.

When someone in the crowd asked whether it made her feel any better to realize that her time was still less than her age, she simply said: "No."

Hawkins nabbed the record over the weekend at the 2021 Louisiana Senior Games competition, which is the state's qualifying event for the biennial National Senior Games.

Also called "The Flower Lady" for her gardening skills, Hawkins previously set the 100-meter record in the 100-104 age category in 2017, with a swift finish of 39:62.

That record was broken in September by 100-year-old Diane Friedman.

But fortuitously for Hawkins, she had taken another lap around the sun in the meantime and, at age 105, was in a new age bracket all her own.

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According to the National Senior Games Association, the only other track and field athletes to hit the 105+ age category have been men — Japanese sprinter and shot putter Hidekichi Miyazaki and Polish runner and discus hurler Stanisław Kowalski.

Hawkins was a lifelong cyclist before losing interest late in life because of a lack of competition. She took up running at 100.

And she doesn't plan to slow down anytime soon.

"I want to keep running as long as I can," Hawkins said. "My message to others is that you have to stay active if you want to be healthy and happy as you age."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.
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