Q&A with Ida Keeling: ‘I would love to meet President Obama’

Ida is on hot streak.

Classy Ida is on a hot streak — a record a year.

Hey, Barry! You meet with every sports champion the Oval Office can squeeze in. Why not Ida Keeling, our W100 sprint goddess? That’s my hope now that Ida is world-renowned for her latest record — 100 meters at age 100. The Penn Relays got a treat, now it’s the president’s turn to share the love. Certainly, Ida would dig it. She shared that sentiment and other thoughts in an email and Facebook exchange with the help of daughter Shelley and social-media-wise granddaughter Yasmin Keeling. I thank them all for graciously responding to my quickie Q&A.

Masterstrack.com: You were trailed by a camera crew at first. Were they an annoyance? Throw you off?

Ida Keeling: No, the cameras did not disturb us at all.

You appeared wobbly, almost leaving your lane several times. Do you have a balance problem, or ear issues?

Ear issues have plagued several family members whom have suffered with Meniere’s disease. There is hearing loss as we age. There could be a connection or could just be my old age. My doctors have yet to make a direct connection. Toward the end of the race, I was just “dawg” tired. A feeling every athlete embraces.

How do you feel today? Any residual aches, pains?

Following day was one of rest and relaxation. No headaches or pain other than the usual.

Was the cool weather an issue for you? Would you go faster in warmer weather?

Cool weather can be a hindrance if there is too much time before the race begins. Hard to say what I would have done.

Why did you wait until Penn for attempt at 100?

My goal since setting my first indoor world record at 92 years old at the World Games in Clermont-Ferrand, France‎, was to set a record every year after that as long as I was able. That is what I did except for 2013.

My last race was at Gay Games, Akron, Ohio, when I was 99. Again, as each time before I broke the one-minute mark. I chose Penn because I only have two more weeks left to be 100 and I wanted to race before turning 101. My daughter’s HS team was competing so it was a perfect opportunity.

Any chance you’ll get a chance to meet President Obama (as many sports celebs do)?

I would love to meet President Obama.

What are your plans for future races? Can you go 200 meters or longer?

I am not completely certain what my future plans are. The last time I ran more than 100 meters was the World Games, Buffalo, NY, when I was 80 years old. I ran the 800 and got the bronze medal. ‎I like the 100 and for now it feels comfortable.

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May 4, 2016

One Response

  1. Peter L. Taylor - May 6, 2016

    Ida was honored by USATF as its “Athlete of the Week.” The story noted that she had set a “new W96-100 world record” (it was actually the establishment of a W100 record). Thanks to the fine work of Kyle Mecklenborg and Phil Felton, I think this record has an excellent chance of getting accepted.

    Also mentioned in the USATF story was Ed Cox, M.D., of Binghamton, NY, who ran 17.85 at age 88 at Penn. Given his countless national titles and several Penn Relays wins, Ed should get some consideration for the USATF Masters Hall of Fame.

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