At 100, Lester Wright became the toast of the town, setting the world record for the 100-meter at the Penn Relays in Philly.
After Sunday’s race, the centenarian said he was nervous ahead of the race, but the crowd’s support gave him the steam to continue.
“It was pretty nice to be able to do this at age 100,” the New Jersey resident told the Asbury Park Press. “When I came here, I was a little bit nervous, but when I saw the crowd and everything I fell right in with it.”
On Sunday, the World War II veteran crossed the finish line in seventh place in his class, ahead of nine competitors.
Wright instantly won the crowd’s applause when he crossed the finish line.
But Wright didn’t just beat the record, he shattered it. With a time of 26.34, the 100-year-old beat the 26.99 record set by runner Donald Pellmann in 2015.
“I guess it’s really something that you don’t often hear about and it seems like it would be somewhat novel if I can get out there and really perform,” Wright told ABC in New York.
Wright added that he was just getting warmed up.
“At 100 meters, I feel like I’m just getting started,” he said. “I thought this was nice, but I wanted a longer race.”
Wright, who turned 100 just last week, ran track for his high school back in the 1930s. He later married his teenage sweetheart, and they are still married 80 years later. Not long after high school, Wright served in WWII, fought in the Battle of the Bulge, and earned four Bronze Stars. Once he came home, he engaged in a career making prosthetic teeth.
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