91-year-old woman breaks marathon record while battling cancer

A running rock star

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - 91 year old Harriette Thompson can't seem to grasp just what all the fuss is about.

"It's just been constant people saying all sorts of nice things and congratulating me and I keep thinking all I did was run another marathon!" Harriette said Wednesday afternoon.

Your first thought might be, she must be putting us on.

"You'd think I'm a rockstar for a moment. That's what I felt like when I came across the finish line and everybody was lined up asking me questions," she said about her Sunday finish at the San Diego Rock N roll marathon. Cameras and reporters were lined up to hear her story.

Harriette didn't run her first marathon until she was 76. And each medal she's earned, is proudly displayed in a hidden corner of her laundry room. Her pride has been replaced by something much greater.

"I guess I'm just grateful for whatever I am, because I know how it was to be sick."

You see last year this time, Harriette wasn't gearing up for her yearly turn at the San Diego Marathon. She was saying her goodbyes.

"I didn't think I was going to live. I was on hospice. I mean they thought I was out of here," Harriette said.

Squamous cell cancer almost took her life, but as you might expect from a woman who runs marathons at 91 years old, she kept pushing and won. Almost the same scenario as the one she faced last Sunday.

"The last few miles weren't so bad because I could almost picture myself at the finish line. But from 17 to 22, that's pretty hard," she said with a giggle.

Harriette's pride will stay tucked away in the laundry room, while her gratitude ride's with her in every race.

"I feel like I'm so fortunate to be at this stage. This is sort of a bonus to my life."

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