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Episode 036: Betty Jean McHugh -- 89-year-old world record marathoner
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What we cover: “Don’t let age get in your way.” – Betty Jean McHugh
Betty Jean McHugh was born in 1927 in small-town Canada, never knowing that after a childhood that took place in the depression, teen years that took place during World War II, a career that began in Toronto as a nurse, and then after raising four children on the west coast, that – in her 50s, strictly out of the need to kill time while her daughter’s swim team trained, she would quite literally stumble into life as a runner. At the age of 55, she ran her first marathon, and today, 35 years later, she’s a multi-time world record holder in her age group. In 2016, at the age of 89, she ran the Honolulu Marathon, beating the previous world record by an astonishing 92 minutes. And, like so many people preparing to celebrate their 90th birthday this year, she’s doing it the traditional way – by running the Honolulu marathon yet again, and likely setting one more world record along the way.
This is a woman who exudes energy and happiness and optimism -- and I like her a lot. Above all, Betty Jean is a shining example of the fact that how we live our own lives isn’t just about ourselves as individuals, it’s about being a beacon of light – of what’s possible for others as well.
If you don’t find this chat completely inspiring in terms of serving as a reminder that we can find our bliss and our purpose and our sense of true joy at any age, and that that how we interpret our biological age is entirely our call, then I don’t know what – if anything – will ever serve as so blatant an example.