CHESNEE, SC (WSPA) – Days after her 100th birthday, the cheers at Chesnee Middle School in South Carolina were loud for Ella Mae Colbert’s world record 100 meter dash attempt.
But, supporters who lined the sides of the track went silent when Ella Mae fell at her first attempt, shortly after the starting line.
“I think I started off too fast,” said Colbert, who got a Band-Aid and went back to the starting line. “You’ll have some trials and you’ll have some things get in your way but you don’t let it get you down. Get up again.”
Ella Mae shattered the current one minute 17 second record crossing the finishing line in just 46.791 seconds. But, she’s no stranger to the track.
“I’d been running from high school and I got a little bored.” That led the Chesnee native to a career in education.
“I always wanted to teach,” she said. Colbert spent 36 years in the classroom as an elementary school teacher.
She says there’s no secret to reaching this milestone that is her age, as she does not have a strict diet.
“I eat everything. It doesn’t hurt me,” she said. However, she said her niece, nephews and 3 mile walks keep her busy.
“I try to get it in every day that I can,’ said Colbert.
That determination is a lesson she tries passing on to the next generation. Ella Mae still volunteers with students at Chesnee Middle School.
“Always look straight ahead and they’ll wonder how you got to the goal so fast,” she advised.
It’s a lesson she proved first-hand on the track in front of the same students she inspires.
“I want you to do your best so when you get to my age, you’ll be running too.”
Officials with Medallion Athletics were at the race to make sure Colbert’s time was as accurate as possible.
Her nephew Paul Humphries tells us they have already applied with the Guinness Book of World Records to make sure this historic day is official.