105 year old Julia Hawkins, nicknamed “hurricane” by her peers, is a remarkable testament to fitness and longevity.

Hawkins broke a world record in the 100 meter sprint, completing the dash in 1:02:95 at the Louisiana Senior Games in late 2021.

She also happens to be the oldest track and field athlete to compete in the 105+ category for the event.

Like any true athlete, Hawkins was disappointed with her time. Her aim was to break the one minute barrier.

“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.

“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.”

Proving it is never too late to take up running, the retired schoolteacher only took up the sport at the tender age of 100.

In 2017, Hawkins set a world record for women aged 100+ with a 100m sprint time of 39:62 at the National Senior Games in Birmingham. That record has since been broken by Diane Friedman, prompting Hawkins to race in the new, 105+ age category.

In fact, 2021 was a good year for age records, especially for the 100 meters.

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.

After setting her 100m record, Hawkins said she loves being able to use her running to inspire others.

“I love to run, and I love being an inspiration to others,” she said. “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 has also been prolific in other sports. She competed in the Senior Games in cycling throughout her 80s and won several gold medals over four Nationals. She eventually ended her cycling career saying that “there wasn’t anyone left my age to compete with”.

In 2019, Hawkins gave others some hint as to the secret of her success. Simply, to stay active if they can and “look for the magic moments”.

“Keep yourself in good shape if you can. Have many passions. And look for magic moments. That is something that I have done in my life — think of the things that are magic moments

that happen to you, like sunsets and sunrises, rainbows, beautiful birds, music and people’s lovely comments to you,” she said.

“All of those are magic moments and they are free for all. Be sure to keep your eye open for them.”

It seems the secret to a long life lies in the realm of the psychological.

 

Image via firstsportz.com

« Back to Articles