At 85 years old, Deirdre Larkin is famous at home, Johannesburg (South Africa), but also in the entire world. Indeed, she is the recordwoman of the half marathon for 85 years and more people. This grandmother can run a 21km race in a bit more than two hours!
A difficult process but a lightning ascent
By seing her start to run her 8km practice in Johannesburg’s neighborhoods, you could think it is the result of an entire life dedicated to practice and hard work. But with Deirdre, it is not that at all.
This former concert pianist, who came to South Africa from United Kingdom in 1970, started running half marathons a bit late. “Before I was 78 years old, last time I had run was in highschool, and I was very bad”, she says to the “AFP” (French Press Agency).
Furthermore, Deirdre suffers from an osteoporosis that absolutely nothing can cure. Despite everything, just seven years after her start, she is today capable of running a half marathon (21.097km) in a bit more than two hours, a world record for her age category (85 years old and more).
More than a simple woman
Even if medals and rewards are something unbelievable for this grandmother, the best reward might be the status she now has.
Indeed, she became an inspiration for all generations thanks to her sport success. “It is very inspiring to see someone this old run like that. I hope I will run and be in shape until I am 90!”, jokes Andisiwe Matshoba, a thirty-year-old who ran the same race.
Even in her professional life, she is a piano professor in a private highschool of the city north district, you can feel this abnegation. Every afternoon, after her training, she goes there and is as intransigent with her students as she is with herself during training.
“After classes, I am exhausted. But when I see Deirdre, that reminds me I can do what I want in life, because she challenges her fate”, says Vuyo Tshwele, 17 years old, one of her student. “For me it its a huge inspiration, it shows us age is just a number. Most of the people think they are too old to do lots of things and her, at the age of 85 years old, runs faster than friends of mine“.