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81-year-old runner: 'The best is yet to come'
02:42 - Source: CNN

Story highlights

At 81, Jeanne Daprano runs and rows competitively

"When I get to the final finish line, here on Earth, I want this body to be worn out," she said

CNN  — 

Jeanne Daprano wants the world to know something: She’s not leaving anything behind. No regrets, no fear. At 81 years old, she’s still pushing her body to the limit. She’s still running competitive races, breaking world records and taking on new challenges.

Why?

More like – why not?

“The thing I’m learning about aging is, it’s inevitable,” Daprano said. “I’m not going to escape it. There are two ways to go: You can either press on or give up. Do I want to go back to 50, 40? No. Because I think the best is yet to come.”

Daprano grew up in Iowa. Eventually, she moved to California. As an elementary school teacher, she began running in order to keep up with her students.

“I was known as the running teacher,” she said. “I had my students do fitness before we studied in the morning and then fitness throughout the day.”It might have started there, but Daprano’s life as a runner took off in ways she never could have predicted. She began running competitively with 5K and 10K road races before moving to the track. She is now the world record holder in the women’s 70-year-old age group mile and the women’s 75-year-old age group 400 meters and 800 meters.

“I’m here in this age group, 80 to 84 I compete in, [and] worldwide, there’s few women athletes,” Daprano said. “The feeling of being fit at any age is a real gift, a blessing.”

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Jeanne Daprano is redefining your idea of aging
01:37 - Source: CNN