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96-year-old woman breaks 5K race record

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Rejeanne Fairhead stood at the starting line in front of Ottawa’s city hall on Saturday surrounded by thousands of racers who were almost all, assuredly, younger than her.  But as the sun beat down on a 28 C day in the nation’s capital, the 96-year-old took a deep breath and burst forward.

Fifty-one minutes and nine seconds later she was a world record holder.

“It felt very good,” Fairhead said, in an interview the day after her big accomplishment. “I was proud of what I did. But I was glad it was all over too.”

Fairhead walked the five-kilometre distance in the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend almost five minutes faster than American Betty Lindberg, who set the previous world record for a 5K race completed by women between the ages of 95 and 99.

Lindberg was 97 when she finished the Atlanta Peachtree Marathon Weekend in 55 minutes and 48 seconds in February 2022.

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