Today the legendary runner Ida Keeling celebrates her 104th birthday!
Ida was born on May 15, 1915 in New York. Yes Yes! At the height of World War I, even before the Revolution in Russia, in an era when the black population of the United States lived in ghettos specially designated for them and did not have civil rights.
An ordinary dark-skinned girl from Harlem in a large African-American family.
Her father owned a small grocery store, so the family had the means to support and educate seven children. But in 1929, the years of the Great Depression began, the family lost their store and house, and in order to survive, the children, including 14-year-old Ida, went to work.
Keeling got a job at a garment factory for $6 a week.
So, in the fight against poverty, the youth of our heroine passed. The Second World War began and a new time of testing and struggle for existence.
Ida got married and had 4 children. And in 1952, she lost her husband and began to raise children alone.
Soon the famous Rosa Parker refused to take the black seat at the back of the bus, sat next to the white passengers, and started the civil rights movement. Riots, demonstrations and clashes with the police began. Ida plunged headlong into the struggle for equality.
And on this wave, America rolled into the turbulent 60s, which brought the Vietnam War, sex, drugs and rock-and-roll.
The war did not bypass the Keeling family. Two sons of Ida went to fight in Vietnam, and after returning from the war, they became drug addicts. This problem then swept the whole country.
In 1981, both sons of Ida were killed. And it was such a blow from which she could not recover. Keeling fell into a deep depression. It seemed that nothing could restore her interest in life.
However, her youngest daughter Shelley, a lawyer and part-time volunteer coach at a local school, found a cure: she bought her mother a pair of running shoes and pulled her out on a 5k run.
“Run as far as you can,” said the daughter. And Ida went on her first running trip.
She was then 67 years old.
It was very hard, Ida recalls, but after the competition she felt better for the first time in many years. “When you run, you look ahead all the time and think: “I will do it!” Even if it hurts, you overcome yourself and understand that “everything will pass, this too will pass”. And it really does!”
And since then she hasn’t stopped running.
In the next 35 years of her life, Ida became the owner of world records in the 60 and 100 m distances in the age categories of 95-99 and 100+ years.
Today Ida Keeling is a celebrity. The media around the world write about her, make films, she is invited to the largest television shows in the United States.
Daughter Shelly is her permanent coach and inspiration. Keeling celebrates his records by hugging his daughter and doing push-ups at the finish line.
Last year, Ida Keeling published a book about her life: Nothing Can Break Me: A Race Against Time.
And today, looking at this cheerful elderly lady, who chats at ease in the TV show studio with Wuppi Golberg and other stars, it is hard to imagine that all these events and trials fit into 100 years of this fragile woman’s life, and she managed not to break down and continues to live. full life, charging others with their positive energy and optimism.
Running is the best medicine. And Ida Keeling is a great example.
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