PHILADELPHIA (CBS) –– There are many wonderful stories at the Penn Relays, but, this year, one woman is inspiring many. She’s 100 years old and still pounding the turf.
The 122nd Penn Relays at Franklin Field in West Philadelphia brought together athletes from all corners of track and field, but the record-breaking performance by 100-year-old Ida Keeling was perhaps the biggest highlight.
On Saturday, Keeling broke the world record for the 100-yard dash for her age group (80 years and older).
“It was wonderful.” Keeling said. “It’s the best exercise I know.”
Her trainer was her daughter, Shelly Keeling.
She has a mat. She does squats, push-ups,” Shelly said. “She can do a lot of calisthenic movements where she can use her own body weight.”
But she says her mother didn’t start running until she was much older — after a family tragedy.
“I put her in a 5K race when she was 67 years old. Prior to that she had not run,” Shelly said. “Both my brothers had been murdered, so she was sinking very quickly, and I just picked her up one morning and said, ‘you’re coming with me,’ and I bought her an extra pair of sneakers and the rest is history.”
So what’s Keeling’s secret to longevity?
“Eat for nutrition, not for taste,” she said. “Do what you need to do, not what you want to do, and make sure you exercise at least once every day.
Shelly says her mother’s abilities at her age are quite astonishing, comparing each year after 100 to dog years.
“I always say they’re like dog years,” Shelly said. “It’s like every year it feels longer than a year, and the amount of your ability that gets compromised can be a lot.”
But Keeling is taking it all in stride….literally.
“I thank God every day for my blessings,” she said.