“Age is just a number” might be one of the most overused phrases, but every so often, someone comes around to remind you that it’s true.
Julia “Hurricane” Hawkins recently accomplished what most 105-year-olds couldn’t. The centenarian became the first woman and first American track and field athlete to set a world record for the 100-meter dash in the 105+ division on November 7.
The 2021 Louisiana Senior Games competition was where she broke the record. A fresh flower was placed behind her ear and loved ones cheered her as she completed the 100m in 1:02 minutes 95.
Hawkins believes that one should pursue more passions as they age. Hawkins is active in keeping herself fit.
“I keep thinking, ‘Why am I left here?’ Why haven’t I been called by now?’” she told USA Today. “People say that they want to be just like me when they grow up… And I think if I can please people and give them hope, then it’s worth living longer.”
At the age of 100, she began participating in sprints. She was a cyclist for around eight to ten more years. Her children registered her for running after she gave up cycling. She chose to run the 100-meter race.
“When I started running, I found it was a pleasure. I enjoyed doing it. So it was a new challenge, and I took to it like a duck to water,” she said. “I felt that would be a neat challenge to run the 100 [meter] dash, at 100, in under a minute.”
And that’s exactly what she did.
Hawkins isn’t new to breaking race records. The world record was set by Hawkins in 2017 when she ran 100m in just over 39 seconds at National Senior Games. This was the fastest time in her 100-104 age group. Diane Friedman, 100 years old, overtook that record in September.
In 2019’s Games, she finished the 100-meter dash in a still-outstanding 46.07 seconds.
Hawkins doesn’t run every day anymore but remains very active. She would walk or jog a mile every day. Sometimes she will run 50 meters to practice sprinting.
The race was less than 10 miles from Hawkins’ childhood Ponchatoula home. She later taught middle school there. Hawkins said she “felt right at home.” In a touching show of support, some of her students watched the race to cheer her on.
Hawkins also receives incredible support from her family, which includes her four children and her husband of 70-years, who died at 96. She says she thinks of him as a “little angel” watching over her.
Outside the field, Hawkins is known as “The Flower Lady” for her passion and skills in gardening. Hawkins tends to a beautiful garden at home that is rich in flowers and bonsai. She almost always wears a flower behind her ear, whether she’s running or not, a habit she adopted when she was in college.
The Louisiana Senior Games is the state’s qualifying event for the biennial Senior Games, which will happen in May 2022 in Greater Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Hawkins will turn 106 in 2022. She’s still contemplating whether or not she will join the race.
In a press release, Del Moon, the National Senior Games Association Media Director, said they aren’t pressing Hawkins for an answer.
“As usual, Julia Hawkins calls her own shots and will wait for the right time to decide if and how her track career will go on,” he said.
Hawkins stated that she was happy to share her 100-meter record with others.
“I love to run, and I love being an inspiration to others,” she said. “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.”
Congratulations Julia Hawkins We’d surely love to be as active as her when we reach her age! Check out the video of her record-breaking sprint below.
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