Cancer survivor becomes oldest woman to finish a marathon

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Harriette Thompson, a 92-year-old cancer survivor, became the oldest woman to finish a marathon on Sunday.

Thompson clocked 7 hours, 24 minutes, 36 seconds at the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon, unofficially according to live timing, surpassing the age record for a 26.2-mile race set by Gladys Burrill, who was also 92 years old when she finished the 2010 Honolulu Marathon, according to The Associated Press.

Here’s video of Thompson crossing the finish line.

Thompson, who has battled jaw and skin cancer, didn’t take up marathon running until age 76 and has now run 16 San Diego Marathons. Last year, she broke the women’s 90-94 age-group marathon record in San Diego with a time of 7:07:42.

“I started running because I had friends who were very ill from leukemia,” the Charlotte retirement resident said last year. “A friend of mine was gathering money for the race, and she was going to run for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. I decided, well, I could walk that. So I signed up, and I came out here in 1999 and ran my first marathon.”

She raised more than $90,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society running her first 15 marathons, according to race organizers.

This year, she endured training with a staph infection in her legs and the toll of the loss of her husband in January.

Thompson, a former concert pianist who played Carnegie Hall three times, joked that she receives attention “just because I’m so old,” according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.

“I don’t consider myself special,” she said, according to the report. “It’s just that I’m 92. All you have to do is get to 90, and you get all sorts of attention.”

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