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Centenarian breaks 100-metre world record

NDTV – After breaking one sprinting world record as a 76-year-old, Lester Wright took part in a track and field event on Saturday after more than two decades. And even at the age of 100, he held his own against other racers who were in their eighties. Not only Wright finished the race, he didn’t come last and even set a record for centenarians.

According to The Guardian, Wright was competing at the Penn Relays, America’s oldest track and field meet, when he surged over the line in a time of 26.34 seconds, breaking Donald Pellmann’s mark of 26.99 set in 2015.

The 100-year-old from New Jersey had spectators in the packed arena standing on their feet as he raced against eight other senior athletes. He participated in the ‘Event 590’ race for ‘Masters Men’s 100-metre dash 80 and older’. Even though he secured seventh place out of nine, he stunned the spectators with his impressive timing.

“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 last week, told Fox 29 before the race. “I don’t know how you can run to be second or third,” he added.

The Guardian reported that Wright’s athletic career has lasted more than 80 years. He reportedly started sprinting in the 1930s before he was forced to pause due to the second world war. He evaded bombs at the Battle of the Bulge and during his service, he even impressively earned four Bronze Battle Stars.

Following the war, Wright then came back to the United States and opened the first African-American-owned dental lab in New Jersey, making prosthetic teeth, USA Today reported.

At the age of 30, Wright seriously started running again and has been competing ever since.

He broke the 200-metre world record for over 75s when he was 76-years-old.

Lester Wright at the Penn Relays on Saturday in Philadelphia. PHOTO: NJ.COM