Ida Keeling: The 95 Year-Old Sprinter

Ida Keeling If you are short on any inspiration to start exercising, get to know Ida Keeling.  The 95 year-old set the world record last year running 60 meters in 29.86 seconds in the Masters Sprint Night last year.

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Keeling, a great-great grandmother from the Bronx is not like any other 95-year-old you have ever met. At 4’6” and 83 pounds, she takes one prescription drug and states, “I am not a sickly person.” On size 5 and1/2 feet, she runs in the hallways of her apartment building and on treadmills, lifts weights, and rides an exercise bike.

Keeling lost her husband to a heart attack at age 42, in 1958. She lost two sons, Donald and Charles, in gruesome, drug-related homicides, in 1979 and 1981. Her blood pressure went up to 206/106. Some people would never get over such events. But despite having had plenty of dark days, Ida Keeling soldiered on.


Her daughter, Shelley, a lawyer, real estate investor and high school track coach, convinced her mother to take up running. Since then, Keeling has set record after record, becoming one of the world’s oldest sprinting legends.

“The biggest thing with my mom is that she never lets anything get her down,” Shelley Keeling said. “If somebody said to her, ‘I’m going to put you in a box and you’re never going to get out,’ she’d say, ‘Just you wait.’ ”

After her brothers were killed, Shelley Keeling got her mother to run in a 5K in Brooklyn. Ida Keeling was 67 at the time. She has been running ever since, in short races and long, though mostly in sprints these days.

We guess there are no more excuses for not working out or getting in shape. Ms. Keeling has proved that it can be done at any age. Way to turn tragedy into triumph!

Think it’s too late to get started?! No Way! Read Senior Fitness: It’s Never Too Late


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