Bruce Frankel

Author of the new book "What Should I Do with the Rest of My Life? True Stories of Finding Success, Passion, and New Meaning in the Second Half of Life."

Ida Keeling: Late Start, Strong Finish; Claims Record Sprint At 95

February 28, 2011

When diminutive 95-year-old Bronx native Ida Keeling set a world record on the hallowed Armory track in New York City the other day, running 60 meters in 29.86 seconds, the most important number was the one at which the sprinter took up running.

At 4-foot-6 and 83 pounds, Keeling didn’t hit the track until she was 67—giving proof to what scientists have been reporting lately: regular aerobic exercise, even begun late in life, not only keeps the heart pumping, but keeps the brain thriving, too.

Following her record-setting run, Keeling said she felt, “Like a puppy… I feel younger now than when I was in my 30s and 40s!”

Ida had suffered more than her share of heartbreak. Her husband died of a heart attack when he was just 42, and she lost two sons in drug-related killings.
But in running, Keeling found a refuge.

Her daughter, Shelley Keeling,  a lawyer and real estate investor who coached track and field at a nearby high school, convinced her to go on a “mini-run” 28 years ago.  Two years later, Ida Keeling ran a 5K race. “It felt good, and I felt uplifted,” Keeling told ABC News.  “Well, gee, this is for me.”

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