100-year-old woman sets new world record at Penn Relays

Trish Hartman Image
Saturday, April 30, 2016
VIDEO: Penn Relays
At 100 years old, Ida Keeling finished in 1 minute, 17 seconds, setting a new world record for her 100-plus age group.

UNIVERSITY CITY (WPVI) -- Most of Saturday's events highlighted high school and college athletes, or the elite men and women, but one race in particular captured the hearts of the crowd - proving it's never too late to make your mark at the Penn Relays.

In lane 3, No. 19 was the oldest competitor in the 80 and older Masters Mixed 100-meter dash.

At 100 years old, Ida Keeling finished in 1 minute, 17 seconds, setting a new world record for her 100-plus age group. She felt so good, she did a few push-ups after her race.

"I'm a nice example of what you can do for yourself, and I thank God everyday for my blessings," said Ida Keeling, Masters Mixed 100-meter dash.

Her daughter and trainer says she works hard to stay in good shape.

"A lot of her training is not just the pounding on the track," said Shelley Keeling, Ida's daughter. "She does 17 minutes on her bicycle, she has a stationary bike, she has weights in her house, she has a mat, she does squats, push-ups."

It was one of many highlights of the final day of the 122nd Penn Relays. Penn's 4xMile men's team won on their home turf.

"The first time I was at the Relays I was running the 4x100 in the 8th grade," said Keaton Naff, University of Pennsylvania. "I never thought I'd actually come to Penn or I'd actually be back here so it's really been an honor."

In between high school and college events, elite athletes ran the track, many gauging their competition for the Summer Olympic Games in Rio.

"You get a little taste of your competition, you get a little bragging rights, maybe, and you go forward with your training and you get ready for the ultimate prize," said C.K. Buddington, Friends of Penn Relays Chair.

For international competitors and fans, they say the atmosphere can't be beat.

"The most amazing thing about the Penn Relays is the crowd around here. It's so amazing," said Imhoaperamhe Nicholas of Nigeria. "Only at Penn Relays."

"It's always a pleasure being here to watch my teammates, and the young ones that are in high school that are doing exceptionally well," said Alecia Cutenar-Batchelor of Kingston, Jamaica.

Officials say the rain hurt attendance on Thursday and Friday so they were grateful to see some sun.

Almost 100,000 spectators watched the relays during the the three days.