At 99, Ida Keeling doesn't believe in breaking records. She strives to set a few.
Last Tuesday, the New York-based great grandmother became the oldest participant in a 100 metres race at the Gay Games in Ohio.
Standing just four feet, six inches, she crossed the finish line in 59.80 seconds. That she finished last didn't matter to her or her several hundred supporters. It is believed no woman her age has ever recorded a faster time in an internationally-certified race. No wonder, then, she feels "I'm still a winner".
For someone has been 'certified' by her family doctor as a "20-year-old", Keeling is already looking forward to rewrite the record books after she turns 100 in May next year.
Some people run for fun; some others need a reason. Keeling falls in the second category.
According to a report in ESPN, Keeling began running at the age of 67 to cope with the loss of her two sons, who were both murdered within just three years.
Charles, her older son, had started taking drugs while in the Navy. He got involved in the Harlem drug scene to make money, but was brutally murdered. Donald, her other son, was killed in a similar situation a few years later.
But that's all in the past now. Trained by her daughter Shelley (59), the wonder woman is living life to the fullest. "Eat for nutrition, not for taste. Do what you need to do, not what you want to do and don't leave out your daily exercise. Love yourself," she says.
Keeling, who lives by herself in a studio apartment and uses the gym twice a week in addition to running and yoga, is a former factory worker. In 2011, she achieved a world best for her age group in the 60 meters with a time of 29.86 seconds. Her competitors were girls a quarter of her age.
Keeling often trains in the corridors of her apartment block, lifts weights and cycles on an exercise bike. She also prefers to eat her evening meal — a hamburger, fish, or liver — for breakfast because "it gives me fuel for the day".
And — hold your breath — she takes just one prescription drug. She wants to keep running as long as possible. Her aim is to outlive her grandmother, who 'scored' a cool 104 in life.