Jeannie Rice ran a 1:37:07 half marathon on Saturday in Akron, Ohio, making her the fastest in her age group — and she plans to go for more.
After multiple attempts, the 71-year-old finally made the record-breaking time, which broke the previous 70-plus womens’ world record of 1:37:38 set by Lavinia Petrie of Australia five years ago.
“I felt good and I just did it. It was great,” she told Runner’s World. “I feel so excited.”
Before the news was official, the Cleveland-based realtor wasn’t sure she’d make the cut.
The day before the race, Rice drove the course and said she feared the hilly route would slow her down.
“I wasn’t confident that I’d do it, but I thought, ‘I’ll just do my best,’ she told the publication. “That’s all I can do.”
Back in January, she attempted to break the record at the Naples Half Marathon, but missed it by only a couple minutes due to severe humidity.
The following month, Rice competed in the Fort Myers Half Marathon and despite technically breaking the record with a finish time of 1:36:16, the course was not record-eligible, Runner’s World reports.
The grandmother to two teenage girls first started running at age 35 in order to lose weight. But clearly her healthy hobby has done a lot more for her than that.
In October 2018, Rice shaved eight minutes off the Chicago Marathon world record for the 70-plus women’s group, running it at 3:27:50 and making her the fastest in her age group.
Her success, she said, is thanks to an injury-free history and a lot of hard work.
“I think that’s the only reason why and how I can run all these years in decent time,” she said of her health. “I’m very lucky and I’m very blessed.”
This isn’t the end of the record-breaking running career.
Rice plans to compete at the Berlin Marathon on Sept. 29, as well as a marathon in Thailand and the 2020 Tokyo and Boston Marathons.
The record-breaking runner ran in the 2013 Boston Marathon when the bombings occurred.
She took to Facebook that year to express her gratitude for those reaching out about her safety, writing: “Thank you to all of you for being concerned about me and my running friends came to Boston. We are very fortunate all of us are safe! Only one good thing is I did win my division which I am very happy about that. It sure was scary experience!
My gratitude to Global News and Runners World for sharing such an inspiring story.