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Woman, 91, Makes Marathon History

Her name is Harriette Thompson. But you can call her Wonder Woman.

Thompson, 91, of Charlotte, N.C., made history June 1 when she crossed the finish line of the Rock 'n' Roll San Diego Marathon. She ran the fastest marathon ever by a woman 90 or older (7 hours, 7 minutes and 42 seconds) and became the second-oldest marathon finisher in U.S. history.

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Impressive, huh? But Thompson says she wasn't even in her best shape. The two-time cancer survivor had completed her last radiation treatment on her legs for squamous cell carcinoma just a month before the race. Recovery time cut back on her training.

"It wasn't until around the 17th mile that I was going uphill and I was thinking, 'Oh, I wonder if I'm gonna make this,' " Thompson told the Charlotte Observer. "But the last few miles I didn't mind at all."

The mother of five and grandmother of 10 didn't start running until age 76, when she wanted to help raise money for leukemia and lymphoma research. Sunday's race was her 15th marathon.

Music helped the former concert pianist through the grueling 26.2 miles - classical pieces that she played through in her head and the rock tunes she heard from bands stationed along the race route.

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Thompson's son Brenny, 55, ran alongside her. Afterward, she was like a rock star with media types clamoring to interview her.

Her favorite part of the race? "At the end," she told ABC News, "when I get over that finish line."


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