World records are not only for Olympians these days. At a time when most of her friends are sitting in nursing homes playing bridge or are no longer alive, one 101-year-old Louisiana grandma is smashing running records.
With a nickname like “Hurricane,” it should be no surprise that Julia Hawkins broke the senior women over 100 world record for the 100-meter dash. At the USA Track and Field Masters Outdoor Championships in Baton Rouge, Hawkins recorded a time of 40.12 seconds to take the gold and the record at the ripe age of 101.
When asked about her feat, Hawkins had little to say, “I broke the record and it was nice. I did it! I did it.” 40.12 is not even her best 100 meter dash time. She ran a 39.62 race at the National Senior games in Birmingham, Alabama.
Running is not her first foray into competitive athletics. She first became involved in competitive bike races at age 75, racing in national and state senior competitions. Her training regiment included riding 6 miles a day around her neighborhood. At her first National Senior Games in San Antonio, Hawkins earned a bronze medal. She would go on to win gold medals at two National Senior Games in Tucson and Orlando.
Her athletic career appeared to be over when she had no competitors at the 2001 National Senior Games. Hawkins recalled, “There wasn’t a single woman around in the meet. So I quit. It’s no fun.” She got back into it at the urging of her four children. She had never run competitively, but her family entered her into the Louisiana games. Hawkins does not run to train for events, instead opting to bike around her neighborhood and eat healthily.
Hawkins can indirectly thank her husband for getting her involved in sports. She bought herself a bicycle as a wedding present following her marriage to her college sweetheart. They moved to Baton Rouge, and Hawkins began a life-long love of exercise.