Age is truly just a number for some people.
Meet Julia “Hurricane” Hawkins, a 103-year-old runner who won gold for this year’s National Senior Games held in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Hawkins aced both the 50 and 100-meter races.
Hawkins achievement this past week did not end with her gold medals. At the age of 103, the ‘Hurricane’ Hawkins has set a world record for being the oldest woman to compete in Track and Field competitive event in the U.S.A.
Hawkin’s finished the 100-meter dash in 46.07 seconds last Tuesday. On Monday, Hawkin’s sprint time for the 50-meter dash was under 25 seconds.
“I hope I’m inspiring them and[sic] to realize you can still be doing it at this kind of an[sic] age,” Hawkins said in an interview with CBS News.
Hawkins joins other centenarians who set world sports records like Robert Marchand, cyclist, and Donald Pellman, masters athlete.
Who is ‘Hurricane’ Hawkins?
Julia Hawkins was a former school teacher from Louisiana. She is married to her college sweetheart, Murray Hawkins who died at the age of 95. She has a total of four children, three grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.
After earning an education degree in Louisiana State University in 1938, Hawkins traveled to Honduras to teach elementary in a banana plantation. For years, Hawkins dedicated her life to teaching children and building a family.
Reaching the age of 103 is not an easy feat, let alone setting world records and winning competitions. Her secret? Hawkins maintained a healthy lifestyle throughout her life.
According to a feature from Runnersworld.com, Hawkins did not indulge in bad habits such as smoking or drinking. When it comes to her diet, she mostly likes fruits and vegetables and rarely eats meat. She is also mindful to maintain a healthy weight.
Hawkins also made sure to keep herself active even from when she was young. Everyday, Hawkins works on her garden tending to her 50 kinds of trees.
Prior to becoming a runner, Hawkins concentrated on cycling. Hawkins would ride her bike around her neighborhood almost everyday. At the age of 75, Hawkins began her journey as a competitive athlete in joining multiple national and state senior games. She has earned two gold medals for cycling in previous National Senior Olympic Games.
When Hawkins turned 100, she decided to take on a new sport: running. Running for the first time in the Louisiana Senior Olympic Games, Hawkins completed the 50-meter dash in 19.07 seconds. Her great running time inspired her to run the 100-meter dash in the 2017 National Senior Games.
“I thought it’d be neat to run at 100 and do the 100-yard dash,” Hawkins said to reporters when asked why she decided to take up competitive running.
Hawkins’ running time at the 2017 National Senior Games 100-meter dash was 39.62 seconds. It was a new world record in the women over 100 and older division.
“I broke the record and it was nice,” Hawkins said.
With her amazing running times, it was no wonder she earned the nickname, “Hurricane”. However, she says she prefers a new one. “I like the ‘flower lady’ better,” said Hawkins, wearing a flower on her left ear. She has since worn a flower on her ears whenever she races or gives an interview.
What is the National Senior Games?
Hawkins is just one of the many seniors who are restarting their athletic career after reaching 50. Good thing there’s the Senior Games!
The National Senior Games is a 20-sport competition for men and women 50 and over held in the US. Hosted every two years, the Senior Games is considered the largest multi-sport event in the world for its qualifying age-range.
A variety of sports are included in the Senior Games’ line-up. Examples of non-contact sports seniors can join in are cycling, racquetball, swimming, and tennis. Participants can also join the Power Walk, Race Walk, and Road Race events aside from the Track-and-Field and Triathlon and Tri Relay. If strategy and concentration is your strength, you can join the Bowling, Golf, Horseshoe Throwing, and Shuffleboard event.
A group called National Senior Olympics Organization was established in 1985 in St. Louis, Missouri to promote healthy lifestyle for adults. The organization hosted the first National Senior Olympic Games in 1987.
Today, the games are hosted by the National Senior Games Association, a non-profit who aims to promote healthy lifestyle through the senior games movement.