It was another typical Tuesday night in the spring for 91-year-old Betty Lindberg. She showed up to participate in one of Atlanta Track Club’s All Comers Track and Field Meets on May 24. She didn’t realize she would go home with a world record.
“Hot diggity!” That was Lindberg’s initial reaction when she heard she had set a new world record in the 800 meters for the 90+ age group. “I’m just so amazed, I can’t believe it, I was just thinking I’d be lucky if they didn’t turn off the lights while I was finishing!
Lindberg is no stranger to Atlanta Track Club members. Her smile, short curly hair and glasses are a familiar sight at the Club’s events – and she is somewhat of a sensation when a picture of her is posted on social media. She’ll likely become even more popular in the Atlanta running community after her recent performance on the Emory University track.
Lindberg finished the 800 meter Grand Prix event in 6:57.56 – a world record and a USATF national record for the women’s 90+ division. The record is pending ratification by World Master’s Athletics and the USATF.
The previous world record was set in 2001. Rosario Iglesias of Mexico held that record for nearly 15 years with her 6:59.18 performance in Brisbane, Australia. Lindberg shattered the national record of 9:26.00 that was held by Mary Kirsling since 2013. And Lindberg’s finish time also bested the world and national indoor 800-meter record set by Mary Norckauer last year (7:14.89).
“I was very surprised,” said Lindberg. “I had never even thought to check to see what the record was!”
Lindberg says she registered for the 800-meter event at All Comers to earn points in Atlanta Track Club’s Grand Prix Series which allows members to earn points for performance and participation in events throughout the year. “I did the 200 a couple of weeks ago. I said here comes an 800, I’ll give it a try.”
So what’s next for Lindberg? The AJC Peachtree Road Race on July 4 – her 26th. After, not even she knows. “There’s no telling what I might be able to do! I’m going to give it a try in the other stuff – I just don’t think I’ll do the pole vault or high jump.”