Since April 21, 1895, the University of Pennsylvania (Franklin Field, Philadelphia) has been hosting the Penn Relay Carnival. This event, also known as Penn Relays, is the largest and oldest US-based track and field competition. The meet is composed of more than a hundred events and is participated in by a bigger number of athletes compared to other meets in the world.
The Penn Relays have a masters 100-meter dash category for athletes 80 years old and above. In the meet event on Apr 30th, a world record was set for the 100- year old age bracket. Ida Wheeling, who is 100 years old, finished last in her heat. However, she set a world record time in her age group. The century old woman set a record of 1 minute and 17.33 seconds, which is the fastest record for anyone aged 100 and above. The first place winner for the master’s category was Ed Cox, 88 with a time of 17.85 seconds.
Harlem-grown Keeling is also known for holding the record in the 60-meter dash (29.86) women’s category (95-99 years old group). Surprisingly, she only started to run at the age of 67. It was Shelley Keeling, her daughter now 64, who signed her up for the race. Shelley was a former track and field coach. Although admittedly exhausted, Ida was still able to wow 44,469 people during the meet. She said she was so happy to offer the crowd a shining example of what a person can do for himself. She thanks God for all her blessings.
In Keeling’s profile that appeared in The New York Times last April, her stats were listed to be “4-foot-6 and 83 pounds.” She mentioned that it was through living in the Great Depression that she learned how to be reselient. She said that it taught her how to do what she had to do without anyone else doing it for you. Her independence and self-sufficiency is considered important factors for her longevity.
“I don’t beg nobody for nothing,” Ida said she doesn’t “beg nobody for nothing.” She washes, cooks, irons, scrubs, cleans, mops, and shops. At 100, she is firmly aging in place.
Ida Keeling turned 101 in May 2016.
On a related note, more and more people are living past the age of 100 according to the CDC. In some communities, longevity is no strange occurrence. Here is one example of a centenarian from what has been termed a “longevity village” in China.