Back in the summer of 2017, 101-year-old Julia “Hurricane” Hawkins set a couple of world records when she competed in the USA Track and Field Outdoors Masters Championships. The sprinter became the oldest female athlete to ever compete in the events, and at the time she crushed the existing world record for the 100 metes, at that age bracket, with a 40.12 second time. At the time Hawkins joked that she “missed my nap for this.”
On Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021, Hurricane Hawkins set a new record. Two actually: As she became the “first female track and field athlete and first American to set a world record in the 100-meter dash for her age group” completed it in 1:02:95. In running the event, Hawkins also created the first 105+ age bracket in the sport. "The older you get, the more passions you ought to have,” she told news outlets. I made hash browns in a toaster oven this morning—so I’ve got that going for me.
Hawkins was born in Wisconsin in 1916. She has four children, three grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. Hawkins spent her years as an octogenarian doing cycling time trials and pulling in a few gold medals. She told the Guardian that her cycling career ended because “there wasn’t anyone left my age to compete with.” So at the age of 100, Hawkins registered to become a 100-meter sprinter. I don’t believe I’ve put on socks yet.
After Hurricane’s 100-meter record in the 100-104 age bracket was broken by 100-year-old Cleveland, Ohio, woman Diane Friedman in August, Hawkins dusted off her running shoes. After the race, she told reporters “It was wonderful to see so many family members and friends. But I wanted to do it in less than a minute.”
As the Guardian points out, while Hawkins and Friedman are blowing minds at the centenarian level, there has been a lot of action in the field of senior sports lately:
In August, Hiroo Tanaka of Japan blazed home in 16.69 to set the male record in the 90 and over category. In women’s competition Australia’s Julie Brims broke the 55+ record in a time of 12:24, while American Kathy Bergen crossed the line in 16.26 in the 80 and over category. Bergen has also broken age records in the high jump, 60m and 200m.
I hurt my neck sleeping last night.
Hawkins knows she’s an inspiration and has these words of advice: “I want to keep running as long as I can. My message to others is that you have to stay active if you want to be healthy and happy as you age.”
Here’s Julia “Hurricane” Hawkins earning her nickname and creating the first world record for 105+ track and field.
Here’s Diane “Flash” Friedman setting the 100M record for the 100-104 age brackett.