‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon’ runner becomes oldest woman to complete 13.1-mile distance

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — More than 30,000 runners pounded the pavement during the 20th annual Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon and Half-Marathon in San Diego Sunday, including one very special 94-year-old. 

Two years ago in San Diego, Harriette Thompson of Charlotte, North Carolina, became the oldest woman to ever finish a marathon at the age of 92. 

However, a repeat performance was ruled out last year when radiation treatment for squamous cell carcinoma left a large open wound on her right ankle, the Charlotte Observer reported. She had beaten the cancerous condition twice before, but the wound left her unable to walk a mile without pain. 

This time in San Diego, she completed the half-marathon, making her the oldest woman to ever complete the 13.1-mile distance. 

Thompson told the publication Women’s Running that she gets up at 6 a.m. to run because it makes her feel better.

"You need to move," she said.    

San Diego distance runner Meb Keflezighi said he couldn’t believe her age the first time he met her. 

"She was amazing, she was very vibrant, funny, a great personality," Keflezighi, a Boston Marathon champion and Olympic medalist, told Women’s Running. "To be the oldest woman to complete a marathon at Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego is just very inspiring."

The race began at 6:15 a.m. at Sixth Avenue and Quince Street on the west side of Balboa Park. The finish is in downtown on Ash Street between Columbia and State streets.

The runners will hail from all 50 states and 37 countries, according to race organizers. Bands will perform at every mile along the course and cheerleading teams will provide motivation. 

Michael Franti & Spearhead are scheduled to perform at a finish line celebration.


Organizers said road closures and alternate routes will be in place as late as 2:30 p.m., which could impact baseball fans heading to the Padres’ game at Petco Park. Most of the major closures will be in a stretch from downtown up to North Park and around Mission Bay.

Interstate 5 and state Route 163 will remain open.    

The Metropolitan Transit System encouraged spectators to use public transportation. Six special Green Line trolleys are scheduled to depart Qualcomm Stadium between 4:08 a.m. and 4:46 a.m., according to the MTS.

The transit agency said the starting line is a 1.3-mile walk from the County Center/Little Italy station.

Categories: Local San Diego News