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100-year-old breaks 100m record at Penn Relays

Lester Wright

Long Branch 100-year-old Lester Wright after racing at the Penn Relays Lester 1


Lester Wright, a 100-year-old World War II veteran, ran the fastest 100m ever for a centenarian, clocking 26.34 seconds at the Penn Relays on Saturday.

Wright placed seventh out of nine in the men’s 80 years and older division, beating an 86-year-old and a 92-year-old.

Pending certification, the New Jersey native beat the previous men’s world record in the 100-year-old age division, a 26.99 set by Donald Pellmann in 2015, a masters track and field official confirmed.

Brit Fauja Singh ran an uncertified 23.40 at age 100 in 2011.

“If you’re going to go out to run a race, you should really run the race to try to win,” Wright, who turned 100 on Friday, told a Fox affiliate before the meet. “I don’t know how you can run to be second or third.”

A local TV reporter asked Wright, who raced for the first time in three years after an illness, if he was tired.

“No,” Wright answered.

Would you do it again? “Yes,” Wright said.

Wright’s early track career was stopped by World War II. He served under Gen. George Patton on the beaches of Normandy, according to the Fox affiliate.

He also buried the dead from the Battle of the Bulge and became a sergeant, according to an ABC affiliate. He and his wife started a dental lab, ran it for 40 years and have great-great-grandchildren, according to local TV reports.

At the 2016 Penn Relays, Ida Keeling set a world record for fastest 100m by a woman 100 years and older, weeks before her 101st birthday.

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