102-year-old runner sets records, inspires others

In Washington Heights on Wednesday, children learned that age is nothing but a number. That lesson was taught by Ida Keeling, 102, a runner from Harlem who became a world record holder in her 90s.

And in 2016, she set a record for women 100 to 104 at the Penn Relays.  She set the record with a 1:17.33 in the 100-meter dash.  It is the fastest time set for a centenarian in that distance.

Shelley Keeling is Ida's daughter and coach. Shelley inspired Ida to start running at the age of 67.

"My mother had lost both her sons. They had both been murdered within 2 years and 8 months of each other and she was sinking into the depths of depression," Shelly said. "So I just called her and said 'You're going to run a race with me' and she said, 'Well, OK."

And that started a running career that Ida said reignited her passion for life. She ran a 5K and felt better.

"Since I feel so good and like I was coming up out of a hole, I went and joined track and field and I've been in it ever since," she said.

This day was Ida Keeling Day at The Armory's Track and Field Center. She spoke to hundreds of children, giving them inspiration on running and life.

"If you're 102 years old and still running and still doing pushups, you can do anything," said the Armory's Alberto Aquino. "We wanted to show the kids that."

Ida shares her inspirational story in a memoir scheduled to be released in February. In the meantime, she continues to inspire children and hopes to inspire couch potatoes.

"Get up off your back end and keep moving," she said. "That's all."