105-year-old track athlete creates new bracket for 100m dash and sets a new world record
She is SUCH a huge inspiration!
Eduardo Gaskell

105. American Julia “Hurricane” Hawkins is 105. The centenarian set a world record in the 100-meter dash for the 105+ division. She’s the first female track and field athlete and first American to set that record.

The 2021 Louisiana Senior Games competition saw Julia, with a flower behind an ear, complete the 100 meters within 1:02:95. Loved ones cheered her on as she crossed the line.

“I keep thinking, ‘Why am I left here?’ Why haven’t I been called by now?’” she told USA Today. “People say that they want to be just like me when they grow up… And I think if I can please people and give them hope, then it’s worth living longer.”

Julia began joining sprints at the age of 100. She used to ride bikes. It was her children who registered her for the run.

“When I started running, I found it was a pleasure. I enjoyed doing it. So it was a new challenge, and I took to it like a duck to water,” she said. “I felt that would be a neat challenge to run the 100 [meter] dash, at 100, in under a minute.”

At the National Senior Games in 2017, Hawkins set a world record by finishing 100 meters in a little over 39 seconds. She was the fastest in her age group. Then in 2019, she did it in an impressive 46.07 seconds.

Julia has stopped running but remains active by walking or jogging daily. She still practices 50-meter sprints though.

Her record setting run was held less than 10 miles from her childhood home in Ponchatoula. Julia “felt right at home” since she used to teach at a middle school in the area.

What made the day extra special was that some of her students showed up to cheer her on.

Hawkins’ four children and her late husband of 70 years would always cheer her on and be there during competitions. She thinks of her late husband as a “little angel” watching over her.

Hawkins is also known for her gardening skills. Her passion earned her the nickname “The Flower Lady”. She tends to her beautiful garden abundant in flowers and bonsai trees.

The flower behind her ear is a habit she adopted when she was in college.

Julia qualified for the biennial Senior Games because of her record run. The event will happen on May 2022 in Greater Fort Lauderdale, Florida. She’ll be 106 then, and Hawkins is still thinking about joining.

The National Senior Games Association Media Director, Del Moon, says there is no pressure on Julia.

“As usual, Julia Hawkins calls her own shots and will wait for the right time to decide if and how her track career will go on,” he said.

Hawkins is proud and happy of her achievement and hopes that it serves as an inspiration for others.

“I love to run, and I love being an inspiration to others,” she said. “I want to keep running as long as I can. My message to others is that you have to stay active if you want to be healthy and happy as you age.”

Hit play below to see Julia in action!

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By Eduardo Gaskell
Eduardo Gaskell is a contributor at SBLY Media.