Watch out. There's a Hurricane about!
Forget Usain 'Lightning' Bolt. There's a new kid on the blocks...
Julia "Hurricane" Hawkins is a heck of a nickname for a 105-year-old woman! But in the case of the retired teacher from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA, who has just broken the world record for 100m in her age group, it's richly deserved.
Competing in the Louisiana Senior Games at Hammond, USA on Sunday 7 November the centenarian was disappointed not to duck under 60 seconds and she vowed to compete in next year's National Senior Games in Fort Lauderdale and run faster than her unprecedented 62.95 – believed to be the first woman of her age to have completed the Olympic sprint distance.
“It was wonderful to see so many family members and friends. But I wanted to do it in less than a minute,” she said after the race. "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".
Ever the perfectionist, Julia said she would have preferred brighter painted lines on the track as she has poor vision, so she did not have to worry about straying out of her lane and getting disqualified!
You can witness her performance in this wonderfully moving interview on Twitter
Only in Masters athletics could a retired teacher be cheered on by her 90-year-old students!
Julia is no stranger to record-breaking but she only took up sprinting at the age of 100 when she ran out of opponents in cycle racing events! She started bike racing at 80 and won four National Senior Games gold medals. She was motivated to tackle the 100m at 100 years old and smashed that record in 2017 with a sprightly 39.62. She also set the W100 world record for 60m indoors in 2018 (24.79).
Also widely known as 'The Flower Lady' due to her other love of gardening, Julia runs with a freshly-picked flower in her hair to keep in touch with nature. She has a powerful philosophy on life, based on searching for "the magic moments" as she explained in a New York Times profile back in 2019:
“Keep yourself in good shape if you can. Have many passions. And look for magic moments. That is something that I have done in my life — think of the things that are magic moments that happen to you, like sunsets and sunrises, rainbows, beautiful birds, music, and people’s lovely comments to you. All of those are magic moments and they are free for all. Be sure to keep your eyes open for them".
Julia, we'll be keeping our eyes open for those magic moments, and thanks for inspiring us all today.
Image courtesy Brit Huckaby via Twitter