Nope, you didn’t read wrongly. This grandmother probably can run better than you and she also had broken the World Record by more than seven minutes.
With a smashing record of 3:27:50, Jeannie Rice, age 70, of Mentor Ohio, which is a town about 25 miles east of Cleveland, managed to conquer the Chicago Marathon on 7th October 2018. That timing was enough to break the 70-plus women’s world record of 3:35:29 set by Helga Miketta of Germany back in 2013.
Surprisingly enough, Rice was back at work—in heels—as a realtor in the Cleveland area, Tuesday after the Sunday marathon, as she felt fine.
Before the fame, there was a humble beginning. Rice was originally born in Korea but relocated in the U.S at the age of 19. During her duration of stay, she picked up running after unexpectedly gaining a few pounds from a trip back to Korea to visit family in 1983.
This was what she said:
You go to visit cousins and aunts, and they think we are starving in America. It’s a feast every time we go. We had to eat to be polite. I came home, I’m 5-foot-2, and I’m a little chubby. I wanted to lose those few pounds.
Rice started running with just her tennis shoes before realising she was excelling at the sport. With minimal training, she was confident enough to participate in local races and marking her name known within her age group. Soon after, her lifetime of marathoning start in 1984 with a debut timing of 3:45 in Cleveland, followed by a 3:16 attempt in Columbus. Running marathons has taken her all over the world and when the Chicago Marathon happened, it was already her 116th marathon run.
Rice defining her age as just a number:
Running is a sport that you can pause and resume at any point throughout your life, and it’s not dependent on other people. I don’t feel 70 at all. It’s too bad the number is there. I’d rather be 50. I’m sure the time will come. I’m probably not going to be able to run like this when I’m 80.
Training for Chicago was not an easy task too. Rice, who do not enjoy treadmills runs at 5:30 a.m. with friends in the area, regularly training on her speed and endurance by running 5Ks and 10Ks. In the time leading up to a marathon, she can run as much as 100 kilometres a week. As winter weather is unavoidable in northeast Ohio, she would travel to Florida for half a year just to constantly train.
Despite already being a legend, Rice still has someone that she looked up to, and that person is Joan Benoit Samuelson, the 1984 Olympic gold medalist and a former American record holder. Meanwhile, she herself was already a role model among her two granddaughters as they bragged about Rice to their friends.
They are so proud of me, as I am of them. They tell all their friends, ‘Oh, my grandma, for her 5Ks are nothing. She runs marathons.’
Nevertheless, there’s nothing that can stop this granny from setting a new ambitious goal at the six World Marathon Majors. She has already subjugated the Boston and Chicago routes, and now the New York City Marathon is up next, in just three weeks, and eventually Tokyo. As for the Berlin Marathon, it’s been scheduled for next year as she did not manage to win her division back then.
Rice making her stand:
I don’t want to just participate. I want to win.
In January, she plans to run the Naples Half-Marathon in the Florida city hoping, to set the half-marathon world record at the Naples race and proving to everyone that there’s no slowing her down. She exclaimed that running is such a huge part of her life and she don’t see herself stopping, not for a while.
You might think Rice would be resting after setting a new world record. However, that’s not her style.
What are your thoughts about Jeannie? Can your grandmother run faster than her? Share with us your thoughts!
Featured Photo Credit: Bank of America Chicago Marathon