CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Charlotte woman who went down in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the oldest woman to run a marathon has passed away.
Harriette Thompson was 94 years old. We’re told she was delivering gifts to her neighbors last week when she was hurt in a fall and had to be put in hospice care.
Thompson ran her first marathon at 76-years-old. In 2015, at the age of 92, she finished the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon in California which landed her the world record. She set another record earlier this year when she became the oldest female to complete a half marathon.
For Thompson, many of the marathons were a way to give back. She ran to collect money for cancer research, a cause close to her heart because she was a cancer survivor.
She ran the San Diego Rock ‘n Roll Marathon 16 times, raising more than $115,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
Just this past May, she took part in the Patriot 5k to honor our service men and women.
Her last race was a 5-K in August in Charlotte.
Thompson was also a talented piano player, and she even performed in Carnegie Hall.
She’s served as an inspiration to people around the country of all ages.
In 2015, she said, “I didn’t think at my age that I could inspire anybody, but I had people run past me in the marathon and they’d say ‘you’re the reason I’m running.’”
Thompson is survived by her five children and 11 grandchildren. Her first great-grandchild is due in about a week.
Thompson's family says she would want the family to be in celebration mode. They will host a Celebration of Life Saturday at 2 p.m. at Myers Park Methodist Church.