Anne Garrett’s Remarkable Story

A Column By Ryan Nelson from the USA for Runner's Tribe

Every once in a great while, humanity gets reminded that age is really nothing more than a state of mind. When challenged or motivated, we are all capable of doing amazing things well into our seventies and eighties. For proof, we don’t have to look any further than the achievements of Anne Garrett.

Anne, an 82 year-old mother and grandmother from of Oceanside, California, broke the national half marathon record in the women’s 80 to 84 age division back in February of 2015. Her final time was an amazing 2:13:23. The event was held in Surf City USA, Huntington Beach, California where 19,000 participants of all ages lined up to face the starter. The Surf City Half Marathon is considered one of the best half marathons in the country. After failing to lose a single race in her division over the entire 2015 racing season, she was named the 2015 Road Runner of the Year for all women 80 – 84 years by the United States Track and Field Association

When asked about her national record back then, Anne was quoted as saying “I didn’t even know my time until I ran over the finish line. I had a new Garmin and I wasn’t too sure how to use it properly. I must’ve accidentally hit a wrong button, but it was a lovely surprise.”

Mrs. Garrett was born in 1936 and raised in Ireland. At the age of 21, she married a young man who had just started his career as a seagoing engineer. As part of his work related travels, he got the opportunity to see the world and size up living opportunities. After convincing Anne there were places throughout the world that had better weather climates than Ireland, she was finally convinced to join her husband as they loaded up the family and moved to Southern California in Feb. 1968.

In her early sixties, Anne began running for exercise and relaxation. She took a liking to being outside and enjoyed the prospects of staying fit. As someone once told her, “motion is lotion for the body.” Even today, Anne admits she feels much more of the pains of aging while sitting down than when she is out on the road logging kilometers with her feet.

It wasn’t until age 72 that she decided to run her first competitive race. At the time, it wasn’t about winning, but more about proving to herself that she could still do amazing things even as she was aging gracefully.

In 2012, her husband passed away after more than 55 years of marriage. Running helped her get through the loss of her husband and provided her with the motivation to stay active under circumstances that would cause most people to fold their tent. It was through this motivation that she began recording faster times, which eventually led to her national record.

This YouTube video shows the delightful charm of a woman that most anyone would be proud to claim as their grandmother. The video interview was recorded shortly after the death of her husband and months before she began her assault on the record.


About the author: Ryan Hails from New York where he is an avid runner, concert goer and intramural basketball star. He once spent a summer attending a baseball game at every MLB stadium in the country.