Ninety-six-year-old Rejeanne Fairhead has proven that age is just a number by achieving an extraordinary goal.
She recently completed a 5K race at the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend, finishing with a time of 51 minutes, 9 seconds, and 1 millisecond. This remarkable achievement has earned her the title of world record holder in the age 95-99 category, surpassing the previous record holder, Betty Lindberg from the United States, by nearly five minutes.
Fairhead, a native of Ottawa, had previously engaged in athletic activities such as bowling and horseshoes, but her interest in setting a 5K record only developed a year ago. In her first attempt at the race last year, she finished with a time of 58 minutes and 52 seconds, which earned her the Canadian record in her age group. However, she fell just short of the world record by a mere 3 minutes and 4 seconds. Undeterred, she started training for the 2023 event in March, determined to make history.
Fairhead’s philosophy is that age should never be a limitation. She believes that as long as one feels good, they should pursue their aspirations. Standing at just four-foot-eleven, she possesses remarkable strength and determination. Even in her late 80s, she was using a chainsaw to cut branches and shoveling snow from her walkway. Her 90s have been marked by a newfound sense of adventure and achievement.
Throughout the race, Fairhead faced challenges such as potholes, pavement cracks, and a steep decline. But she persevered, motivated by the cheers and encouragement from the crowd. As she approached the finish line, the excitement grew, and she completed the race with a time of 51 minutes and 10 seconds, surpassing the previous world record by an impressive 4 minutes and 38 seconds.
Fairhead’s accomplishment has inspired many people who now see aging in a different light. Her determination and positive outlook on life have given others hope that they too can find joy and purpose in their later years. She believes in focusing on what one can do rather than what they can’t.
Resting on a wheelchair after her incredible achievement, Fairhead took a moment to reflect. With a deep breath, she raised her fists in the air and whispered to herself, “I did it.” Her story is a testament to the fact that age should never be a barrier to pursuing one’s dreams and that determination can lead to remarkable achievements, regardless of how old one may be.