99-year-old great-great-grandmother Ida Keeling set an international sporting record at the Gay Games in Cleveland, Ohio on Tuesday, becoming the first person in the 95-99 category to run the 100 meters in an internationally certified race.
Keeling ran the race in 59.8 seconds, taking only 50 seconds more to complete the 100 meters dash than many professional athletes.
‘I’m running from old age and arthritis,’ Keeling told the Akron Beacon Journal, ‘Believe me!’
Keeling received a massive cheer from the audience as she crossed the finish line and ran into the arms of her daughter Shelley Keeling who got her into running in 1967 after two of Ida’s sons were killed in drug related homicides.
At 99, Ida still lives independently in a studio apartment in New York, works out twice a week in her building’s gym and does yoga when not running in the hallways.
Ida credits her vitality and health in old age to regular exercise, healthy eating and the skills she learned having to survive in Harlem during the Great Depression of the 1930’s.
Fellow New Yorker and daughter Shelley is also competing in the Gay Games in Cleveland and coaches track at Fieldston School in the Bronx.
If that’s not enough for you, Ida and Shelley had originally planned to run in the 400 meter relay instead of the 100 meter event and only pulled out due to wet weather!