In the century since he was born, Lester Wright has worn a lot of hats.
The Long Branch, New Jersey man earned four Bronze Battle stars while serving in the Army during World War II. He’s been married to his high school sweetheart, Adele, for 80 years. He was the first African American to own his own dental lab in New Jersey. And now, at age 100, he’s a world record holder!
Lester has been a runner since he was in high school back in the 1930s. He has competed in different races over the years, nabbing the top spot in the 75-and-over 100-meter dash at the Penn Relays in 1977. This year, just one day after he turned 100 years old, Lester returned to America’s oldest track and field event in Philadelphia to compete in the same event.
He didn’t win the race. In fact, he came in seventh out of eight runners. But that didn’t matter — what mattered was seeing a 100-year-old easily keeping up with runners 20 years his junior. The crowd of 38,000 cheered loudly as Lester held his own in the race, finishing the 100-meter in 26.34 seconds. The race was won by 84-year-old Bob Williamson with a time of 17.33 seconds.
“It was pretty nice to be able to do this at age 100,” Lester said after the event. “When I came here I was a little bit nervous, but when I saw the crowd and everything I fell right in with it.”
In fact, the centenarian’s only regret was that the race wasn’t longer!
“At 100 meters, I feel like I’m just getting started,” he said. “I thought this was nice, but I wanted a longer race.”
The day after the 2022 Penn Relay, Lester’s 26.34 second time was certified for a world record. His 100-meter time beat out the previous record of 26.95 seconds, making him the fastest 100 to 104-year-old runner ever recorded in the world!
Way to go, Lester! We suddenly feel very slow for our age. This man is living proof that good living and regular exercise do a body good.
Share this story to congratulate 100-year-old Lester on his record-setting race.
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