This year marks the 122nd annual running of the Penn Relays. The race had only been around for 22 years when Ida Keeling was born.
This year marks the 122nd annual running of the Penn Relays.
But even with all that history, Franklin Field has never seen anything quite like 100-year-old Ida Keeling.
The centenarian set a new world record in her age group, running the 100-meter dash in a time of 1-minute, 17-seconds.
“I’m very happy to offer all this crowd a nice example of what you can do for yourself,” said Keeling after the race. “And I thank God everyday for my blessings.”
The 4-foot-6-inch great-great grandmother from New York City credits a daily exercise regimen, overseen by her 64-year-old daughter Shelley, along with a healthy diet for her longevity.
“Eat for nutrition, not for taste,” she added.
There was no previously recognized time in the category, so just crossing the line guaranteed Keeling a world record. Still, she wasn’t all that happy with her time.
“Four times she’s run this event, she’s broken 60 [seconds],” said daughter Shelley, who also coaches a high school track team in Manhattan. “She’s an inspiration and example, not just for young people, but for people her age, and everything in between.”
After thanking the cheering crowd and posing for a few photos, Ida Keeling dropped and did a few push-ups, for good measure.