Meet Julia Hawkins, The 101 Year-Old Who Has Recently Joined Competitive Running

Meet Julia Hawkins, The 101 Year-Old Who Has Recently Joined Competitive Running

Julia Hawkins is a lady unlike any other you may meet. The reason for this is because she is 101 years of age. That’s not the only amazing thing about this lady. At 81 Julia took up competitive cycling, and when she turned 100 she decided that she needed a new challenge. She took up running!

Julia registered for the 50 meter dash at the Louisiana Senior Olympic Games, and finished in an amazing 19.7 seconds. Soon after that Julia added the 100 meter dash and the 5K bike race to her list of accomplishments.

A retired teacher and a great grandmother, Julia is a four times participant and two times cycling gold medalist in the Senior Olympics. While she loves riding around Baton Rouge, Julia feels that running has given her a different type of freedom. She feels that she can just go out and run her best.

“I’ve always liked competition,” says Julia. “With running, it’s just me and my body. I can just go out and do the best I can and not depend on anything else to help me.”

Julia Hawkins
Hawkins competing in the 50-meter dash at the 2016 Louisiana Senior Olympic Games at age 100. WARREN HAWKINS

Julia has no concerns about whether she will be any good at running as she leaves the phone in the house. When she is in the garden and it rings, she runs inside to answer it. One of her sons set up a marked area in the back yard, with 50 and 100 marks, so when she gets the urge, she can run the distances.

“I knew I could run because I’m always in the yard working, and when the phone rings, I go running inside to answer it,” she says.

“I thought it’d be fun to run 100 meters since I’m more than 100 years old,” she laughs.

Although the race may only be a few months away, Julia has yet to begin training, she says she will get around to it, and nearer the time, she will run every day. She will also add a stretching routine. Right now she does not have anywhere to lift her leg onto to bend ‘like you’re supposed to’.

“I’ve never trained before and I don’t have a trainer,” Julia explains. “Nearer to the time of the race, I will run every day and get myself in better shape, and I may ask some of my friends who also run for advice.”

“Nearer to the time of the race, I will run every day and get myself in better shape, and I may ask some of my friends who also run for advice.”

“Right now, I don’t have a good place to put my foot up high and bend like you are supposed to,” she explains. “I am going to get something to help me do that because I know it’s good for you.”

“My friends are mostly too old to even watch me, but I’ll get a younger friend who can come out and time me every day.”

Hawkins competing in the 5K cycling event at the 2016 Louisiana Senior Olympic Games.
Hawkins competing in the 5K cycling event at the 2016 Louisiana Senior Olympic Games.

Julia says that she hopes she will not disappoint her cheering public, which is made up of her four children plus some friends from Birmingham.

“It would hurt my self-esteem terribly if I let them down,” she says. “I am going to try as hard as I can. I will give it my best shot.”

“I want to spend it all but have a little bit left to stand alert at the end and still wave to my friends and family.”

Perhaps the most inspiring thing about Julia is her state of mind. She says that even though she is 101 years old, she feels like 60 or 70. She admits that she is not perfect at that age but nothing stops her doing what she loves.

“Keep in good shape, try not to be overweight, get good sleep, and keep exercising and training.” This comes with a warning: “There is a fine line of pushing yourself and wearing yourself out,” she says. “You don’t want to overdo it. You just want to do the best you can do.”

“I don’t feel 101,” she reflects. “I feel about 60 or 70. You are not going to be perfect at 101, but nothing stops me.”

Source: Runner’s World