92 Year-old Adventist Sets Marathon Record

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A 92 year old great-grandmother has just completed an official 26.2 mile marathon—and is believed to be the world’s oldest woman to have done so. Honolulu’s city mayor will honour her in a January 7 ceremony.

Gladys Burrill finished the Honolulu Marathon, power-walking across the finish line at 9 hours, 53 minutes and 16 seconds. If her time is confirmed by the Guinness World Records company, she will surpass current record holder Jenny Wood-Allen, a Scot who completed the London Marathon at age 90, according to the company’s website.

Gladys Burrill—the world's oldest woman to complete a 26 mile race—says life is like a marathon

 
Church member Gladys Burrill, 92, set a world record as the oldest woman to finish a marathon. Locally known as “the Glady-ator,” she power-walked her way through the Honolulu Marathon in Hawaii, United States, in 9 hours, 53 minutes and 16 seconds. [photo courtesy Honolulu Marathon]  

Her time this year could have been two minutes less—she stopped to pray a just one hundred metres from the finish line. “I thought my life would change once I crossed that line. I knew some people needed encouragement so I thought that was very important,” said Burrill, who is a Seventh-day Adventist.

Burrill’s son and grandson walked with her at different points during this year’s competition. She has 18 grandchildren and 26 great-grandchildren.

Official race organisers were astonished by Burrill’s feat. Jim Barahal, president of the Honolulu Marathon, told KITV News, “I think it is absolutely unbelievable—an inspiration. Anyone who has an elderly parent would realise what she is doing at her age.”

Burrill says life is like a marathon. “It requires perseverance, strength, courage … you just have to keep going” she told reporters on a recent phone interview from her condominium in Honolulu. “It’s very important to think positive,” she said.

 
Gladys Burill leads an active and positive lifestyle, which is a huge inspiration to many  

Burrill has been an airplane pilot and a mountain climber. She said she was always athletic—as a child she ran up the hills above their farm. Burrill said she’s never used alcohol or tobacco, and eats a healthy diet—she’s mostly vegetarian and skips dessert.

Just as important, she said, is staying mentally well. “It’s very important to think positive.” Also, “dream about things you want to do in the future, even if they’re impossible. It keeps you going.”

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