World marathon record for Gladys,92
Published 05/04/2011 | 07:42
Gladys Burrill was not thinking about breaking a world record when she power-walked and jogged through the Honolulu Marathon at the age of 92.
But Ms Burrill, a part-time Hawaii resident nicknamed the "Gladyator", learned soon after finishing the December 12 race in a time of nine hours and 53 minutes that she probably qualified for the title.
Now Guinness World Records has confirmed her accomplishment and the Hawaii House of Representatives has honoured her with a certificate and lei at a special ceremony.
Asked for her advice to others wanting to live a long and healthy lifestyle, she said: "Just get out there and walk or run. I like walking because you can stop and smell the roses, but it's a rarity that I stop."
Ms Burrill had been a multi-engine aircraft pilot, mountain climber, desert hiker and horse rider before she ran her first marathon in 2004 at the age of 86.
She said she was inspired when she saw early-morning fireworks kicking off the marathon the year before.
Since then, she has completed five of seven Honolulu Marathons. She dropped out of the race in 2008 just days after the death of her husband of 69 years, and a stomach ailment sidelined her in 2009 halfway through the course.
Ms Burrill said her positive attitude gave her the strength to start running marathons and keep at it. She still walks dozens of miles a week, including 45 miles last week.
"It's so important to think positive. It's easy to get discouraged and be negative," she said. "It makes such a difference in how you feel and your outlook on everything."
Her feat also has been recognised by the World Records Academy and by USA Track and Field. She eclipsed the previous record held by Jenny Wood-Allen of Dundee, who was 90 years old when she completed the 2002 London Marathon.