71-year-old grandmother Jeannie Rice just broke a half-marathon world record

Jeannie Rice broke the world record for the 70-plus womens' half-marathon group. Jeannie Rice/Facebook

Jeannie Rice ran a 1:37:07 half marathon on Saturday in Akron, Ohio, making her the fastest in her age group — and she plans to go for more.

After multiple attempts, the 71-year-old finally made the record-breaking time, which broke the previous 70-plus womens’ world record of 1:37:38 set by Lavinia Petrie of Australia five years ago.

“I felt good and I just did it. It was great,” she told Runner’s World. “I feel so excited.”

Before the news was official, the Cleveland-based realtor wasn’t sure she’d make the cut.

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The day before the race, Rice drove the course and said she feared the hilly route would slow her down.

“I wasn’t confident that I’d do it, but I thought, ‘I’ll just do my best,’ she told the publication. “That’s all I can do.”

Back in January, she attempted to break the record at the Naples Half Marathon, but missed it by only a couple minutes due to severe humidity.

The following month, Rice competed in the Fort Myers Half Marathon and despite technically breaking the record with a finish time of 1:36:16, the course was not record-eligible, Runner’s World reports.

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The grandmother to two teenage girls first started running at age 35 in order to lose weight. But clearly her healthy hobby has done a lot more for her than that.

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In October 2018, Rice shaved eight minutes off the Chicago Marathon world record for the 70-plus women’s group, running it at 3:27:50 and making her the fastest in her age group.

Her success, she said, is thanks to an injury-free history and a lot of hard work.

“I think that’s the only reason why and how I can run all these years in decent time,” she said of her health. “I’m very lucky and I’m very blessed.”

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This isn’t the end of the record-breaking running career.

Rice plans to compete at the Berlin Marathon on Sept. 29, as well as a marathon in Thailand and the 2020 Tokyo and Boston Marathons.

The record-breaking runner ran in the 2013 Boston Marathon when the bombings occurred.

She took to Facebook that year to express her gratitude for those reaching out about her safety, writing: “Thank you to all of you for being concerned about me and my running friends came to Boston. [sic] We are very fortunate all of us are safe! Only one good thing is I did win my division which I am very happy about that. It sure was scary experience! [sic].”
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