When a centenarian drops some of their wisdom, you listen up. When that centenarian also happens to be a runner and world-record holder at 102 years old, you lean forward and prepare to be inspired. “I am a giant,” Ida Keeling, the record-holding runner and age-agnostic inspiration tells Allure. “I’m worldwide, I’m in the book of records and I’m still chasing myself.”
Born in 1915, Keeling is a regular force of nature — she’s currently the Masters record holder in 60- and 100-meter distances for both the 95-99 and the 100-plus age groups. Though she was always active, it was her daughter that eventually got the now legendary track and field athlete into running at age 67 by asking her to go on a “mini run” with her. “I didn’t know until 2008 that it was a 5K… I just kept running,” she says.
In a new video, Keeling shares some of her sage wisdom with Allure, starting with addressing the impossible standards set by the worlds of beauty and fitness. “Don’t abuse yourself — that’s your body,” she says. “You’re supposed to love it and take care of it and do the best for it.”
For Keeling, age really doesn’t matter — just look at her out-of-this-world track record for proof — all that matters is that you keep moving. “My pace is slower — I don’t care if it gets as slow as a caterpillar,” she says. “I’m going to be out there doing what I can do. That’s strength. That’s feeling good about yourself.”
But despite her impressive résumé of accomplishments, she says the moment she “made it” was when she finally felt independent. “Everything I got is mine, and I’m the owner and that made me feel stronger,” she says. We have a feeling Beyoncé is out there somewhere raising a glass to Keeling — the OG independent woman.
Her most inspiring piece of wisdom for a long and fulfilling life is pretty simple. “If you give up on yourself, shame on you.” Preach, Ida.
Starring: Ida Keeling; Featuring: Yuui Ogawa; Directed by: Maya Margolina; Director of Photography: Anna Stypko; Production Assistant: Brittany von Hess; Edited by: Andres Escobar.
For more age-old wisdom:
- 7 Things You Have to Look Forward to When You Get Older
- This Is the Surprising Age Women Have the Most Body Confidence
- Emmanuel Macron Blames Misogyny for Obsession With His Wife’s Age