This inspirational story will hopefully keep you smiling for the rest of the day. Meet Julia "The Hurricane" Hawkins from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I bet you never would have guessed she was a track star, but she is. I'm not talking about her former life either!  Julia Hawkins is the oldest woman in history to compete in a USATF-sanctioned track and field event.

Growing Bolder founder/host Marc Middleton met the heroin and captured her record-setting moment at the 2021 Louisiana State Senior Games! That day, Mrs. Julia set a track and field world record for the oldest competitor to run the 100-meter dash at the tender age of 105. Her time was lightning fast, 62 seconds flat! A couple of years later, she would beat her own record at 107 years of age! A world record, by the way; no other human being has been able to beat it!

Julia “The Hurricane” Hawkins was born on February 10, 1916, in Wisconsin. In 1934, while studying at LSU, she met the love of her life, Professor/World War II Veteran Murray Hawkins. They were married for 70 years and had four children. While her husband served the country, Mrs. Julia worked as a teacher and taught grades fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh in a single classroom.

They lived happily together until her beloved Murray died on March 7, 2013. He was 95. Until they meet again, the courageous senior athlete continues to teach and inspire the world. She started her running career at the tender age of 100 and is a light of inspiration for everyone she encounters.

In 2016, her daughter Margaret Hawkins Matens wrote a book about her phenomenal mother, "It's Been Wondrous: The Memoirs of Julia Welles Hawkins." The book honors her mother's mind-boggling accomplishments and serves as a testament that age is truly just a number. 

Where is Julia "The Hurricane" Hawkins today? Marc Middleton was kind enough to update us on Mrs. Julia and commemorate another one of her incredible benchmarks. Streaming live on Feb 10, 2024, Middleton invited everyone to join him in wishing Mrs. Julia a happy 108th birthday! Incredible, right? Special thanks to Growing Bolder for sharing this heartwarming story!


The only other female phenom to set a world record in Track and Field that still stands was also a 100-meter runner! It happened during the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, Korea. That year, Florence Griffith Joyner, better known as Flo-Jo, set the record.

She is the only female athlete to hold simultaneous records. In 1987, she set a 100-meter record at 10.96 seconds. Then, in 1988, she returned and beat that time by 0.47 seconds, setting a new world record of 10.49. During the same Olympic games, Flo-Jo set a world record in the 200-meter race, clocking 21.34.

Florence Griffith Joyner of the USA
Getty Images

To this day, no female athlete has been able to beat either record. The only person who came the closest was Jamaica's Elaine Thompson-Herah. She ran the 100-meter at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo and crossed the finish line at 10.61! Despite no evidence and undergoing countless drug screenings, it was widely speculated that she was using steroids or performance-enhancing drugs.

She fiercely denied this claim. It was also speculated that the wind was high that day, and Flo caught an illegal tailwind. Accusations of drug use grew louder when Flo-Jo announced her retirement in 1989 to start a family. In 1990, Flo-Jo suffered a devastating tonic-clonic seizure. She had two more significant seizures in 1993 and 1994. The last one, in 1998, took her life.

On September 21, 1998, the legendary Flo-Jo died suddenly and unexpectedly at home in her sleep. She was only 38 years old. A Sheriff-Coroner's office ruled her death was due to asphyxia during the initial examination and believed Flo may have been strangled.

This prompted a murder investigation and an extensive month-long autopsy to rule out foul play. It was later concluded that Flo's actual cause of death was an undiagnosed congenital vascular brain abnormality. Turns out this condition was responsible for her seizures. As for performance drug accusations, the coroner found zero evidence. He did, however, find two other drugs in small amounts, an over-the-counter acetaminophen and Benadryl. That's it!

Years of unfounded steroid allegations put a dark cloud over Florence Griffith Joyner's career and the legitimacy of her world record achievements. Did Flo-Jo pass her final test with the autopsy? Unfortunately, that question may still be up for debate...for some.

It's hard to believe a 105-year-old could sprint down a track and set a world record. Yet, it happened. Is a 108-year-old Julia "The Hurricane" Hawkins a superhuman? Possibly.

F. Griffith-Joyner
Getty Images

Was Florence Griffith Joyner really that fast? Of course! The human body is amazing. Seniors like Julia prove that every day. What can't be disputed is that no one has been about to beat Flo-Jo's world records. Until they do, she will remain the fastest woman on earth. Rest in peace Flo!

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