76-year-old athlete finds passion in running track

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — A local Colorado Springs woman is traveling to competitions across the country competing in track.

However, it’s not the sport that’s catching attention – but rather the age of the athlete.

“There are people out here when I come over to train and they just shake their heads and just say, ‘You’re really 76, I can’t believe it!,” said Mary Smith.

Smith is 76 years young and spends her days training and competing on the track field.

“I’ve been real lucky,” she said. “It’s something I really love. I devote a lot of time to it, I devote most of my time to it.”

“It doesn’t surprise me because of the hard work and the determination that she has,” said Debra Brown, Smith’s track coach.

The two recently traveled to a competition in Albuquerque, New Mexico where Smith ran the 400 meter in the 75 to 79 age group. She finished first with a time of 1:26.

“Four hundred meters is hard to run but it’s such a challenge to me to be able to do that each and every time,” said Smith.

“She’s considered amongst the elite runners in masters track across the board,” said Brown.

Smith has no athletic background. Having grown up in a time where women didn’t play sports in school, the retired reading specialist says she simply loves running track.

“I just love the running part and to win is an additional accomplishment which generates a lot of happiness, makes me continue on,” said Smith.

“I mean at 76, she’s an inspiration to everyone she meets as far as her accomplishments,” said Brown.

Smith’s best time for a 400 meter is 84.33.

She plans to run her next competition in August at the Mid America Region Master Championships in Fort Collins.

 

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