Two years in the past, at the age of 101, Julia Hawkins set a document. A operating document.
She ran the 100-meter sprint, ending with a time of 39.62 seconds. They known as her the “Hurricane.”
This week, at the age of 103, Ms. Hawkins returned to the observe to run the 50- and 100-meter sprint races in the National Senior Games in Albuquerque. She is believed to be the oldest girl to formally compete on an American observe, in accordance with the group, which hosts the Olympic-style occasion for athletes 50 and older.
There is admittedly little competitors in the centenarian age group, and Ms. Hawkins was largely competing in opposition to herself. She completed the 100-meter sprint about six seconds slower than her document time, however she was nonetheless happy with the end result. “I’m two years older, remember?”
Ms. Hawkins bought into operating late in life, and it has change into one of her many passions. She lives in Baton Rouge, La., the place she takes each day walks and cares for bushes on her property. She has 4 youngsters, three grandchildren and one great-grandchild. She was married to her late husband, Murray, for 70 years, after they’d a marriage by phone throughout World War II.
When The New York Times known as for an interview on Wednesday morning, she was taking a break from operating to spend the day at a botanical backyard. (Flowers are one other ardour of hers.) We caught up along with her afterward, earlier than a celebration with fellow senior athletes and earlier than she bought able to fly house to Louisiana on Thursday.
Our dialog has been edited and condensed for size and readability.
Q: If you don’t thoughts me asking, when is your birthday?
A: February the 10th, 1916.
I perceive you didn’t get into operating till you had been fairly older.
100. But I at all times did Senior Olympics in biking. Then after I bought too previous to bike up hills and use gears and issues, I went to operating at 100. The first time I went to have a look at it and check out, it was the 50-yard sprint. It was enjoyable and I fell in love with operating.
Can you inform me a little bit bit about your coaching routine?
I run on the avenue by my home, sometimes, not usually. As I become older, I really feel like I solely have so many 100-yard dashes left, and I don’t need to waste them in apply. Can you think about that? I’ve markers on the avenue to point out me the place 50 yards is, and the place 100 is, and I am going by that. But I don’t apply a lot. I’m simply fairly good at shifting round and I do it when I’ve to, no matter I’ve to do.
How did you get your nickname, “Hurricane?”
Well, any individual thought it up. We discuss quite a bit about hurricanes in Louisiana and the incontrovertible fact that they do quite a bit of hurt makes me not like that a lot, however it’s half of our house life and I suppose in the event that they suppose that’s cute, it’s all proper with me. But I’m an enormous flower individual and I normally put on a flower in my hair, even after I’m operating. I might slightly be the “Flower Lady” than the “Hurricane Lady.”
O.Okay., possibly we’ll name you the “Flower Lady” then.
Well, both one. It’s all proper with me.
What do you do in your spare time?
I learn. Since I’m having bother with my eyes, I learn the books that discuss to you. I get fantastic books that inform me the tales and I’ve been having fun with them. I’ve an acre of land, and I’ve all of these bonsais and they’re sufficient to maintain me busy. You need to water them day by day and there’s something to do with each one of them nearly day by day. I am going out to lunch with associates most day by day. Someone comes to stick with me at evening, and he or she will get my breakfast and supper, so I’m effectively taken care of.
Do you will have any secrets and techniques to longevity and staying in form?
To keep in form, simply maintain energetic. Keep your weight down and train. Have quite a bit of passions, issues that you’re keen on. Keep keen on quite a bit of issues to maintain you busy and maintain your thoughts busy.
When you suppose again, what are you most proud of you in your lifetime?
I’m most proud of my youngsters and my husband. They had been the fantastic issues in my life — and the grandchildren, and the great-grandson. Those are stuff you simply can’t beat that. This different (the operating) is just a bit icing on the cake.
Thank you a lot. It has been a pleasure speaking to you. Do you will have any closing ideas?
Keep your self in fine condition if you happen to can. Have many passions. And search for magic moments. That is one thing that I’ve carried out in my life — suppose of the issues which can be magic moments that occur to you, like sunsets and sunrises, rainbows, lovely birds, music and other people’s pretty feedback to you. All of these are magic moments and they’re free for all. Be positive to maintain your eye open for them.