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When you need motivation to convince yourself to go for a run, just think of Harriette Thompson. Harriette, who is 92 years old, became the oldest woman to run 26.2 miles after competing in San Diego’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon on Sunday. The two-time cancer survivor ran her 16th race to raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, a cause she holds close to her heart because of friends who have passed away from cancer, as well as her husband of 67 years, who passed away in January.
“That makes it personal, something that I really feel is important,” Harriette said to Runner’s World. Since she started running at 76, Harriette has raised more than $100,000 for the nonprofit organization.
The former concert pianist finished this year’s marathon in 7 hours, 24 minutes, and 36 seconds. Last year, Harriette had broken 92-year-old Gladys Burrill’s 2010 Honolulu Marathon record by finishing the Rock ‘n’ Roll race in 7 hours, 7 minutes, and 42 seconds. The secret to Harriette getting through a long race? The spirited woman revealed that she mentally plays old piano pieces in her head as she’s running.
While everyone was cheering for her on the sidelines, she also received support from her son Brenny who snapped photos and videos to document his mother’s inspiring journey. Harriette said Sunday’s race was going to be her last, but she also shared, “My friends remind me that I say that every year.” Read on to see photos of Harriette crossing the finish line with determination and a giant smile.