I traveled to Louisianathis weekend to watch, record and share video of Julia Hawkins running 100meters. It took her 62 seconds to finish the run but 105 years to start it.Julia’s run at the Louisiana State Senior Games is a world record and makes herthe oldest woman to ever compete in a sanctioned track and field event, andpossibly in a sanctioned athletic competition event of any kind.
It was a cold, windy day.Julia has severely impaired vision, a stent in her heart, and the myriad healthchallenges anyone fortunate enough to live to 105 faces. She fully understoodthat falling, a heart attack or a stroke were all distinct possibilities. She had countless reasons to say, “no!” But she showed up, she lined up and sheran. “It’s fun. I enjoy making people happy and I’m proud to set an example forothers,” she told me. “But mostly, it a wonderful moment and I am a collectorof wonderful moments.”
Julia’s example shouldn’tbe viewed as some entertaining but unachievable oddity. It’s not the result ofa unique genetic blessing. It’s largely the result of lifestyle choicesmade over decades — choices we can all make in our own lives. Will theyguarantee that we live to 105 and break world records? Of course not. But theycan dramatically improve the quality of our lives.
Julia was a 5th gradeteacher when World War II broke out. A group of her students, now in their 90s,came to watch their former teacher deliver her most important lesson ever –life is for living and some risks are worth taking.
Who is Julia Hawkins? Youare. We all are. We all have the ability, in our own way, to step up to theline and run. We all have the opportunity to become collectors ofwonderful moments. Growing Bolder, National Senior Games