Like all elite athletes, Julia “Hurricane” Hawkins has a ruthless streak. So, despite setting a 100m world record on Sunday at the Louisiana Senior Games, she still wants to go faster.
“It was wonderful to see so many family members and friends. But I wanted to do it in less than a minute,” the 105 year-old said after the race, where she recorded a time of 1:02:95, a record for women in the 105+ age category. When someone pointed out that 102 is less than her age and asked if that made her feel better, Hawkins answered: “No”.
The retired teacher is no stranger to athletic excellence. She started competing at the National Senior Games when she was 80, specialising in cycling time trials, and won several gold medals. She eventually ended her cycling career saying that “there wasn’t anyone left my age to compete with”.
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When she turned 100 she took up sprinting. In 2017 she set the 100m world record for women over the age of 100 with a time of 39:62. When her record was broken in September by Diane Friedman, Hawkins decided to compete in a new age category.
“I love to run, and I love being an inspiration to others,” Hawkins said on Sunday. “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.”
Several age records for the 100m have tumbled this year. In August, Hiroo Tanaka of Japan blazed home in 16.69 to set the male record in the 90 and over category. In women’s competition Australia’s Julie Brims broke the 55+ record in a time of 12:24, while American Kathy Bergen crossed the line in 16.26 in the 80 and over category. Bergen has also broken age records in the high jump, 60m and 200m.