At 98, Grandma Shatters Record After Finishing 5K Race In Under An Hour

Mar 17, 2023 by apost team

Betty Lindberg, a 98-year-old Atlanta grandmother, made a new world record at the Publix Atlanta 5K race in February 2023 after she completed her run in 59 minutes and six seconds. The elderly woman is the world record-holder of the five-kilometer race in the age group of 95 to 99. 

Based on the Marathon Handbook, the average time it takes for an intermediate female runner between 60 to 70 years old to finish a five-kilometer race is 35 minutes, while an intermediate female runner in her 80s to 90s could complete the same distance in approximately 50:25 minutes. However, there is no approximate time record for runners beyond 90 years old.  

Lindberg is not a novice when it comes to marathons because she started at 63 years old and never quit a race, even if she struggled or had hip-replacement surgery. She only missed one race when she was taking care of her husband, who had Parkinson's disease in 2005. He passed away the following year. 

When running shifted to the virtual world because of the lockdowns in 2020, Lindberg and her 69-year-old daughter, Kerry, who was the first marathon runner in the family, also joined these races online so they could keep with the pace. The 98-year-old runner had to learn how to use an iPhone and an Apple Watch to track events and submit her completed times and scores to the USA Track & Field (USATF). During this period, Lindberg was able to finish seven virtual racing courses with varying distances.

The grandmother has her training schedule down to pat as a member of the Atlanta Track Club. She trains six days a week but takes a day off on Saturdays, her salon day. 

Lindberg looked every inch a pro when she crossed the finish line at the 2023 Publix Atlanta 5K race. She immediately stopped to check her watch to see her logged time and then smiled at the crowd greeting the runners. Her record pace per kilometer was 11 minutes, and she did not actually run but strolled at a brisk pace.

“I use the race-walking technique, which works great for me,” Lindberg told Growing Bolder in 2020. “Walking is so good for everyone. I encourage everybody to just start moving." 

The impressive woman actually doesn't get the fuss about her running or why strangers come up to her, remark on her achievements, or cheer for her on the streets. Compared to other racers, Lindberg is fully aware that she's nowhere near their fastest times, even if these people are half her age. But then she doesn’t believe age matters with running.

“I am glad that people are inspired by me but it is not my aim to go out there and do that,” she told Atlanta News First. ”I walk as fast as I can. It takes me a long time to do a race but I start it and I finish it."

Lindberg also confessed that she aches and hurts physically during training and every race. She used to tell her children and grandkids that she would not sign up for another race anymore, but every year, she trains earlier than anticipated. 

"I guess I just don’t know any better," she told 11 Alive in 2022. "As soon as I get across that finish line, all the aches and pains just disappear.”

How amazing is Betty Lindberg! It takes a lot of discipline and motivation to train regularly and then do well at the marathon. What do you think of her completed time and her outlook on running in general? If you know someone who's into running, pass this story along!

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