Inspiration

She was 85 years old and among the last runners to finish the Boston Marathon. But she set a new world record.

by On Nov 11, 2018

You have read about Eliud Kipchoge breaking a new marathon world record and Jeannie Rice breaking the 70-plus women’s world record. How about a more elder grandmother finishing the Boston Marathon 2018?

She was 85 years old and among the last runners to finish the Boston Marathon. But she set a new world record.

What would you be doing at the age of 85? As a matter of fact, not many could live till that age.

I was always assured that at that age, the majority would either be taking care of their grandchildren or simply watching television at home. However, after learning about Katherine Beiers, I branded myself as ignorant.

Who would have thought that an 85-year-old grandmother would be slowly making her way through the Boston Marathon 2018, and completed the race in 7 hours and 50 minutes to set a new record of the oldest woman to ever complete the 26.2-mile race from Hopkinton to Boston.

Sure, she may be in the last place, but achieving that at the age of 85? You've got to agree, that's pretty impressive!

The story behind the oldest woman to complete the Boston Marathon

Katherine Beiers was born and raised in Santa Cruz, California. Nine years before becoming the mayor of Santa Cruz in 1993, she ran her first marathon in Napa with her son in 1984. She described the experienced by saying:

Crossed the finish line and I cried for about 20 minutes. Very emotional for your very first one.

As of 15 years ago, at the age of 70, she qualified for the Boston Marathon. In order to conquer it, she was seen running at least 45 miles per week around the neighbourhood. Due to her age, she was faced with a few physical limitations as described:

Well, I realised a couple years ago that I can't run uphills. I mean I'll just physically start up a hill and the gravity pulls me back.

However, there was a fellow runner that managed to put in all into perspective, which gave her the extra motivation to continue:

On course you run by this nursing home, they are all lined up in wheelchairs with blankets, just cheering us and just wonderful. And I was running along this guy and he looked at me and said "You could be there, but you are here". It was wonderful.

Beiers now has run around 38 marathons and the Boston Marathon in 2018 was her 14th time running. She said it's wonderful and extremely exciting and that’s what does it every year to make her just want to go back.

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During the Boston Marathon 2018, she had to battle against the heavy rain, unsettling wind and near-freezing temperature while wearing a garbage bag to protect herself. Despite that, she managed to persevere and crossed the finishing line with a stunning time of seven hours and fifty minutes, being the oldest female finisher in her age group. This news shocked everyone and readers on social media wanted to know her story.

She was 85 years old and among the last runners to finish the Boston Marathon. But she set a new world record.

"My son and I have now run 14 Boston Marathons together. I started running when I was 49. I realized that running gave me energy and I’ve kept going ever since. My first Boston Marathon was in 2003. It’s a special time for us to share. This year, the weather was an especially big challenge and I had to dig deep mentally and physically to finish.
After the race, I met my family at a bar and enjoyed a Manhattan. The crowd cheered when I walked in. It was surreal and I spent the next two hours posing for pictures. Last year, I left Boston and went directly to Spain and walked the 500-mile pilgrimage, the Camino de Santiago. This September, I will walk 200 miles of trails in southern France." Photo Credit: HOKA One One

At this point in time, you may be wondering "Why is she doing all of this?" or "Why does she risk running a marathon rather than staying at home and enjoying retirement?". Clearly, retirement is something not on Beiers's list, but rather acquiring rewards were the reasons why she runs at her age.

Originally, she wanted to earn a gold for each of her 10 grandchildren. However, she has already completed that and now is working towards obtaining trophies for her great-grandchildren, clearly showing no signs of stopping.

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Majority of marathon runners would prefer to rest up, lie in bed or take a shower after completing the race to recover from their suffering. Comedically, Beiers finishes the race, goes straight to her hotel bar and enjoys her alcoholic reward.

A beer is my recovery drink!

Beiers and her son were both seen enjoying a post-race traditional pint of beer. That's why we said that your post marathon celebration should always include a beer!

Are you ready to join Katherine Beiers at the Boston Marathon 2019? You can find out more information on the registration for the Boston Marathon 2019 here.

Are you inspired by Katherine Beiers? What will you achieve at the age of 85? Share with us your thoughts in the comments below!

Featured Photo Credit: Suzanne Kreiter / The Boston Globe

What used to be a couch potato, now an active sports person. A person that enjoys all kinds of sports, especially Ultimate Frisbee. Running constantly on the weekends to keep himself fit as a fiddle.

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