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Harriette Thompson, who is a classically trained musician, completed the Rock ’n’ Roll Marathon in San Diego in 7hr 24min 36sec.
She has performed at New York’s iconic Carnegie Hall three times and says she plays through old pieces in her head as she runs.
Thompson, who is a cancer survivor, started running marathons when she was in her 70s. “At that time I had lost several people in my family to cancer and I said, ‘Oh maybe I should do that.’ When I got out there the first year I just planned to walk it, but everybody else was running so I started to run with them.”
This year Thompson almost matched her 2014 time of 7hr 7min 42 sec, which itself broke the record for the fastest-ever marathon time for a woman 90 or over. She has run in 16 of the last 18 San Diego marathons.
It had been a difficult year for Thompson, whose husband passed away in January. After completing this year’s race she said: “I was just really thrilled that I could finish today.”
She added: “I don’t think I’d be living today if I didn’t do this running.”