Whoever thinks that staying fit gets harder as you grow older should take a page out of this lady’s book. At the ripe age of 85, and despite being diagnosed with osteoporosis, Deirdre Larkin hasn’t let any of that stop her from running 65 races a year, including several 21 km half-marathons. She is the current marathon world record holder for her age group, and can be seen running through Johannesburg’s suburbs most mornings as she completes her regular 8 km training course.
This retired concert pianist has won over 500 medals for her sporting achievements, and what’s even more amazing is that she only started running in 2010… at the age of 78! Deirdre explains that it was one of her children who encouraged her to run in the first place. “My son ran three times a week, so I said I would join him to help keep me fit. When I started, I was walking three steps, running three steps, walking three steps.” She quickly progressed to racing and now she is quite a celebrity.
Deirdre says that during her races: “As people pass me they say ‘Hello – I saw you on TV!” But as every athlete knows, the feeling at the end of the run makes it all worthwhile. She concludes: “There’s always an element of disbelief. I can’t believe I’ve done it. But my body tells me the next day that I certainly did do it. My blood goes around my body much quicker, I don’t feel cold, I can feel all the muscles in my body – I never knew I had so many muscles! I feel much more alive.”