“It is not true that people stop pursuing dreams because they grow old, they grow old because they stop pursuing dreams.”
– Gabriel García Márquez
“I don’t let anyone drag me down. I just keep going.” Those are the words of 4-foot-6, 83-pound Ida Keeling. In 2016, then 100-year-old Ida set the record as the oldest woman to dash through the 100-meter run at the Penn Relays in Philadelphia. When she finished the race she did some pushups and showed her flexibly by doing some stretching on the grass. “I’m very happy to offer this crowd a nice example of what you can do for yourself, and I thank God every day for my blessings.”
The now 103 year-old Ida took up running at 67 and she’s been competing in races all over the world ever since. Her daughter, a track and field high school coach, helped her overcome depression from the loss of her two sons to drug violence through running. “Get up and do things, even if you don’t feel like it. Your strength is in you. If you have the will you’ll find a way.”
Ida Keeling wrote a book about her life struggles and accomplishments called, “Can’t Nothing Bring Me Down; Chasing Myself In the Race Against Time.” In an interview in Runner’s World when asked about the difficult moments she included in the book Ida said, “I wrote about it, but it’s over. The past is sometimes kind, sometimes horrible and miserable. Feeling miserable is a bad thing; it slows you down. I don’t like to slow down. I want to be ready to move.”
Ida has inspired runners of all ages to keep going. “Stay strong, love yourself and do what you need to do, not what you want to do.”
I don’t know about you, but Ida has inspired me to pick up the pace of my daily walk. “Just keep moving,” she said.