100-year-old breaks 100m record at Penn Relays

Lester Wright

Lester Wright, a 100-year-old World War II veteran, ran the fastest 100m ever for a centenarian, clocking 26.34 seconds at the Penn Relays on Saturday.

Wright placed seventh out of nine in the men’s 80 years and older division, beating an 86-year-old and a 92-year-old.

Pending certification, the New Jersey native beat the previous men’s world record in the 100-year-old age division, a 26.99 set by Donald Pellmann in 2015, a masters track and field official confirmed.

Brit Fauja Singh ran an uncertified 23.40 at age 100 in 2011.

“If you’re going to go out to run a race, you should really run the race to try to win,” Wright, who turned 100 on Friday, told a Fox affiliate before the meet. “I don’t know how you can run to be second or third.”

A local TV reporter asked Wright, who raced for the first time in three years after an illness, if he was tired.

“No,” Wright answered.

Would you do it again? “Yes,” Wright said.

Wright’s early track career was stopped by World War II. He served under Gen. George Patton on the beaches of Normandy, according to the Fox affiliate.

He also buried the dead from the Battle of the Bulge and became a sergeant, according to an ABC affiliate. He and his wife started a dental lab, ran it for 40 years and have great-great-grandchildren, according to local TV reports.

At the 2016 Penn Relays, Ida Keeling set a world record for fastest 100m by a woman 100 years and older, weeks before her 101st birthday.

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Lucas Braathen, world’s top male slalom skier, in doubt for world championships

Lucas Braathen

Norway’s Lucas Braathen, the world’s top male slalom skier this season, is doubtful to compete in the world championships slalom on Feb. 19 after appendix surgery on Tuesday.

“It’s been a tough couple of days fighting after surprisingly finding out about quite an intense infection on my appendix,” Braathen, a 22-year-old soccer convert with a Brazilian mom, posted on social media. “I’ve been through surgery and I’m blessed that it went successfully.”

The Norway Alpine skiing team doctor said Braathen’s recovery will take a few weeks, but there is a small possibility he can make it back for the world championships slalom, which is on the final day of the two-week competition.

Braathen has two slalom wins and one giant slalom win this World Cup season. He will miss Saturday’s slalom in Chamonix, France, the last race before worlds. Countryman Henrik Kristoffersen and Swiss Daniel Yule can overtake him atop the World Cup slalom standings in Chamonix.

Braathen entered last year’s Olympics as the World Cup slalom leader and skied out in the first run at the Games.

ALPINE SKIING WORLDS: Broadcast Schedule

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Sifan Hassan sets marathon debut

Sifan Hassan

Sifan Hassan, who won 5000m and 10,000m gold and 1500m bronze at the Tokyo Olympics in an unprecedented triple, will make her 26.2-mile debut at the London Marathon on April 23.

Hassan, a 30-year-old Dutchwoman, said she will return to the track after the race, but how the London Marathon goes will play into whether she bids for the Olympic marathon in 2024.

“I want to see what I can do on the marathon distance, to make future decisions,” she posted on social media. “We’ll see if I will finish the distance or if the distance will finish me.”

Exhausted by her Olympic feat, Hassan reportedly went at least seven months after the Tokyo Games between training in track spikes. She finished fourth in the 10,000m and sixth in the 5000m at last July’s world championships in Eugene, Oregon.

“I really needed a break after the Tokyo Olympics,” Hassan said at worlds. “I was mentally crashed. I didn’t even care about running.”

London, billed as the best women’s marathon field in history, also boasts Olympic champion Peres Jepchirchir of Kenya, world record holder Brigid Kosgei of Kenya, 2016 Olympic 10,000m champion Almaz Ayana of Ethiopia, 1500m world record holder Genzebe Dibaba of Ethiopia and the two fastest Americans in history, Emily Sisson and Keira D’Amato.

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