HAMMOND, La. (WGNO) — Senior athletes across the state gathered at Southeastern University’s track field in Hammond to compete in the Louisiana Senior Games, but one competitor was the star of the show.
At 105-years-young, Ponchatoula native Julia “Hurricane” Hawkins laced up her tennis shoes and prepared to set a world record as the first American and first woman to race in her age group.
“She’s always had a love for sports. She got this idea, she heard about a woman who had run the 100-yard dash at 100, and decided that that would be fun to try,” said Julia’s daughter Margaret Hawkins-Matens.
Hawkins, a lifelong teacher, had quite the fan base to cheer her on. Many of them were her former students. Others, just adoring fans.
Hawkins also received a special congratulatory plaque from the Lieutenant Governors Office.
As time started ticking away, Hawkins became increasingly eager to race.
“I want to run! This waiting around is hard,” said Hawkins.
But finally, the time came, and “Hurricane” Hawkins took off.
In one minute and two seconds, Hawkins crossed the finish line of her 100-yard run. So after the race, we asked her, what’s the biggest secret to living a healthy and long life?
“Marry a good man. And if you’re married to a good man that you respect and love and like and he’s your best friend, then you’ll be happy all your life,” said Hawkins.
Hawkins husband passed away several years ago after more than 70 years of marriage, but through her grief, Hawkins found a love for running.
“When he died, she just really thought her life had ended. So having this come along and happen, this kind of out of the blue, that she has this new fame and all this attention and people telling her you’re my role model and because of you, I started exercising again, has really given her a whole new lease on life. It’s been a great run for her,” said Hawkins-Matens.