Until a few years ago, Julia Hawkins of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, didn’t care much for running.
Still, the great-grandmother thought it might be fun to run a 100-yard dash when she turned 100. Previously, she had stayed active with gardening, daily walks, and bike rides, but she decided to give jogging a shot to celebrate her triple-digit milestone!
Once she started, it didn’t take long for her to blow the competition away! By the time she turned 102, she had already earned three world records, including that all-important 100-meter dash!
Her quick moves on the track earned her the nickname “Hurricane,” but she said she would prefer “Flower Lady” due to the flower she always wears in her hair while competing.
When she was 103, she entered the National Senior Games in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she won a gold medal in both the 50- and 100-meter races! In the process, she set yet another track and field record as the oldest woman to ever compete in the U.S.
Many people have asked her for health and fitness tips, and she likes to keep her answers simple. “Keep yourself in good shape if you can,” she told the New York Times. “Have many passions. And look for magic moments.”
For this nature lover, finding these special moments is easiest when she’s in her garden! The centenarian has over 50 different bonsai trees that she’s been tending for over half a century. Not to mention, she said identifying joy every day has kept her satisfied both emotionally and physically.
“That is something that I have done in my life — think of the things that are magic moments that happen to you, like sunsets and sunrises, rainbows, beautiful birds, music, and people’s lovely comments to you,” she explained. “All of those are magic moments and they are free for all. Be sure to keep your eye open for them.”
The incredible athlete wanted to compete this year — at 104 years old — but when the novel coronavirus pandemic hit, she had to cancel her plans. While the change may mean the end of her record-setting running career, Julia isn’t shedding any tears over it.
“Running never was my passion; it just was a fun thing to do,” she said, adding that she only started entering track races to impress her family. She’s certainly accomplished that much!
As for anyone else who hears her story? The centenarian has just one wish: “I hope I’m inspiring them and to realize you can still be doing it at this kind of an age.”
It’s official: We no longer have an excuse to stay on the couch. If Julia can take up running and smash records after turning 100, we can pursue goals of our own! Clearly, it’s never too late to achieve our dreams!
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