January 2, 2015 8:25 pm
Updated: January 2, 2015 11:44 pm

87-year-old B.C. grandmother breaks another marathon record in Honolulu


WATCH: A North Vancouver woman proves age is just a number after she shatters a marathon record. Jill Bennett managed to catch up with her.

VANCOUVER – Betty Jean McHugh has broken yet another running record.

The multiple world record holder ran the Honolulu Marathon in mid-December and finished with a time of 5:36:49. That beat the previous world record, set in 1994, of 7:06:48 in the age group 85-89.

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McHugh started running in 1980 and instantly found she liked distance running. She ran her first marathon in 1982 and finished first in her age group.

“One year, when I was invited to Rome… I had run the Victoria Marathon, then Honolulu, then I got the invitation to run Rome, which was in April, so that was a bit of a pressure,” she said.

McHugh is not alone in her love for running. Her son Brent ran the Honolulu Marathon as did her her granddaughter.

The 87-year-old has run about 20 marathons since starting more than 30 years ago. She said she loves the camaraderie of the experience.

“The people are very upscale in terms of their attitude,” said McHugh. “You don’t get a lot of grumbling.”

She also knows what pace to set to make sure she completes the marathon safely and with enough energy left for the end. “I think sometimes I have too much left,” she said. “Because I don’t hurt enough.”

McHugh trains three times a week, with a long run on Saturday (about two hours). When training for a marathon, they increase the distance about five per cent every two weeks. In between she goes to the gym, does yoga and takes cycling classes.

“In February there’s a half-marathon which I’ve signed up for,” said McHugh. “But now I have to save myself for next December because my grandson wants to get involved.”

“I guess I’ll have to hang in there for another year.”

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