Jun 3, 2014, 8:56 AM EDT
Thompson, 91, broke the women’s 90-94 age-group marathon record when she crossed the finish in 7 hours, 7 minutes, 42 seconds.
She was still healing from squamous cell carcinoma radiation treatments as recently as one month before the marathon. Her white tights covered wounds on her legs. It wasn’t her first time battling cancer. She ran San Diego in 2010, 2011 and 2012 with an oral cancer that took all but one of her upper teeth and her jawbone, according to the Charlotte Observer.
Actually, Thompson shattered the previous 90-94 age-group record of 8:53:08, set by Mavis Lindgren in 1997. She came close to the men’s mark of 6:46:34.
Get this: Thompson didn’t take up marathon running until 15 years ago, at age 76.
“I started running because I had friends who were very ill from leukemia,” the Charlotte retirement community resident said. “A friend of mine was gathering money for the race, and she was going to run for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. I decided, well, I could walk that. So I signed up, and I came out here in 1999 and ran my first marathon.”
Everybody in her family has died from leukemia or cancer, including the recent passing of her 99-year-old brother, she told NBC San Diego. She has raised more than $90,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society running 15 marathons, according to the Charlotte Observer.
She was given a special introduction before Sunday’s race and met Meb Keflezighi, the Boston Marathon winner and 2004 Olympic silver medalist.
Her longest training run/walk was five or six miles, and she told reporters wasn’t sure she would be able to finish Sunday. But she powered on with her son, Brenny, 55, by her side.
Thompson, reportedly a former concert pianist who played Carnegie Hall three times, was surrounded by media after completing the 26.2 miles in about 16:20/mile pace Sunday.
“I don’t deserve all this attention,” she said, according to competitor.com. “I feel relieved. But I’m interested in getting into a cold shower and falling into bed for a while.”
Thompson told reporters she would run the San Diego Marathon again next year, if she’s able.
“I can’t believe how big a deal they’re making over me,” she told the Charlotte Observer. “I felt like a queen for the day.”
Apr 1, 2015, 5:51 PM EDT
One U.S. Olympian even held a press conference.
Apr 1, 2015, 4:39 PM EDT
The Sarajevo 1984 gold medalist’s health continues to deteriorate.
Apr 1, 2015, 3:50 PM EDT
Harrison’s coach wants to see her lose at the World Championships.
Mar 31, 2015, 2:49 PM EDT
The full competition schedule was released Tuesday.
Mar 31, 2015, 9:15 AM EDT
“Douglas Family Gold” is the working title.
Mar 31, 2015, 9:00 AM EDT
England FA couldn’t get backing from the three other federations.
Mar 30, 2015, 3:16 PM EDT
Gabby Douglas and Aly Raisman are attempting what six other Olympic medalists before them failed.
Mar 30, 2015, 11:30 AM EDT
Gatlin may have gotten an up-close look at his biggest U.S. threat on Saturday.
Mar 30, 2015, 9:27 AM EDT
Argentina is in jeopardy of not qualifying for the Rio Olympics.
Mar 28, 2015, 10:24 PM EDT
It marked Jorgensen’s largest margin of victory in her World Triathlon Series career.
Mar 28, 2015, 8:42 PM EDT
But they haven’t decided on the 2018 Olympics.
Mar 28, 2015, 7:00 PM EDT
Terry Gannon, Tara Lipinski, Johnny Weir and Tracy Wilson are on the call.
Mar 28, 2015, 2:24 PM EDT
How they fared against World champion Simone Biles.
Mar 28, 2015, 11:44 AM EDT
“I don’t know if it’s going to ever happen again.”
Mar 28, 2015, 10:53 AM EDT
Next year, Tuktamysheva can go for a feat not seen since 2001.
Mar 27, 2015, 11:30 AM EDT
The U.S. has a new former NHL player as head coach, is missing a major Sochi star and hopes to end a losing streak to Canada.
Mar 27, 2015, 10:13 AM EDT
The Olympic champions are slated to compete for the first time since London 2012 this weekend.
Mar 27, 2015, 9:54 AM EDT
The U.S. men are unlikely to secure three spots for the 2016 World Championships.
Mar 27, 2015, 9:53 AM EDT
A French couple became the youngest World champions in 40 years.
Mar 26, 2015, 10:14 AM EDT
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva landed a triple Axel in one of the greatest short programs of all time.
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