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Julia Hawkins, the 103-year-old inspiration who took up running just three years ago, competed this week at that National Senior Games in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and came away with two gold medals.
On Monday, her sole competitor in the 100-104 age group didn’t start the 50-meter dash, but “Hurricane Hawkins,” as she’s known, finished it in 21.05. Then she lined up on Tuesday for the 100-meter dash final and finished in 46.07 for her second gold medal.
“Every day when you’re 103 is a miracle,” she said, during a CBS News segment.
The Senior Games is a biennial competition open to runners ages 50 and older. At the meet, Hawkins also became the oldest woman to ever compete on an American track.
“I hope I’m inspiring them to realize you can still be doing it at this kind of an age,” she told reporters at the Senior Games.
Hawkins, a great grandmother from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, started running at age 100. An avid gardener, she discovered she might have some talent when she could dash inside to pick up a phone call.
In 2017, at age 101, Hawkins set the world record for her age group in the 100-meter dash at the USA Track & Field Outdoor Masters Championships, in 40.12 seconds. She is also the centenarian world record holder in the 60-meter dash (24.75).
In an interview with Women’s Running this year, Hawkins said the key to her longevity is having a lot of passions.
“Passions keep you going. They make you want to live and want to do,” she said. “Get out there and make new friends and do something new every day.”