Andrea Harrison started running at age 50 and wanted to convince others that it was never too late to start something.
At the age of 85, Harrison was still strong enough to win the 800-meter gold medal with a time of 6 minutes 0.24 seconds and a silver medal in the content of 5,000 meters with a time of 43 minutes 1 second. In September 2018, this former elementary school teacher reaped both of the above content at the Georgia State Elderly Games.
Harrison insists she is looking to win a medal at more run events, but awards and accolades are not what this runner sought.
She has also lectured at community centers and schools, focusing on the benefits of running and exercising for her physical and mental health. According to her, exercise will help eliminate the chaos and anxiety in each person.
“Thank God I’m not in pain and everything is fine. This life is a gift from God, and he must have given me the strength to keep running”, Harrison told 11alive as he looked back on his running career.
Harrison came to jogging at the age of 50, because his son was in high school then. He wanted to join the track and field team but the school did not have this activity, so Harrison and his mother chose to run around the school parking area.
A few years later, when the family moved to Atlanta, Harrison began to run along a riverside path and increase the distance. It took up to three years for a former elementary school teacher to run a mile (1.6 kilometers) continuously.
Harrison now runs 11 miles (more than 17 kilometers) per week. She eliminated the chaos and anxiety in her head by praying for her loved ones while running. She has a twin sister with a disability, 6 children, 14 grandchildren, and 4 great-grandchildren.
One son is a coach who runs the field and helps Harrison plan his training. The next two sons help mom buy running accessories and travel expenses for tournaments. There were always a few Gammy’s Groupies members waiting for Harrison at the finish line to support the 85-year-old runner.