Proving that age is just a number, a persistent 71-year-old marathon runner broke the age-group world record in the half marathon after a brilliant performance at the recent Akron Half Marathon.
Jeannie Rice, a grandmother from Mentor, Ohio, finally set a new half marathon world record on August 10 after multiple attempts in the past.
Averaging 7:25-mile pace for 13.1 miles, Rice was able to secure the record by over 30 seconds on Saturday morning, in a performance currently pending ratification.
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Congratulations to 71-year-old Jeannie Rice of Mentor who unofficially set a new age group world record during the Goodyear Half Marathon yesterday, running the 13.1 miles in 1:37:07. Jeannie is pictured with @akronmarathon Board Chairman, Bret Treier. #runAkron @runnersworldmag
Rice finished the Goodyear Half Marathon in Akron with a time of 1:37:07, beating the previous 70-plus women’s world record of 1:37:38 set by Lavinia Petrie of Australia back in 2014, reports Runner’s World.
“I felt good and I just did it. It was great! I feel so excited,” Rice was quoted as saying.
“I had the half marathon world record time so I could look at it every day so I could go for that, which is my goal, and now that I did that, I can put down my own record time and now I’ll go after that.”
Rice, who has been running marathons for 35 years, also set the age-group world record for the full marathon with a time of 3:27:50 last year.
“Last year, I broke the world record in Chicago Marathon,” she told Fox8. “My time was 3:27 plus change, I think 3:27:50 so I beat it by a little over 7 minutes.”
Despite her age, Rice has never suffered any injury in any of the races she completed. She attributes her success to being lucky and blessed in avoiding injury.
In preparation for the full Akron marathon in September, she is running 60 miles per week, four times her average weekly practice runs of 15 miles.
A realtor by profession, Rice initially started running at the age of 35 in a bid to lose weight. With two world records under her name, she intends to keep going and try to break even more records. Rice will be making her first attempt to lower her age group world record at the Berlin Marathon on September 29.
“I’m going to Berlin for the marathon. If I can break my own world record, it’d be great even by a minute or a half minute. So I set a goal like that, so I don’t give up, so I can continue to train hard and tough,” she said.
She is also setting her sights on running a marathon in Thailand later this year and then the Tokyo and Boston Marathons in 2020.