NEWTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — An elderly Chestnut Hill woman who took part in a running meet at Holy Cross College in Worcester this weekend walked away with some pretty cool bragging rights.
Diane Hoffman was 91 when she ran the race—she just turned 92 Wednesday—but she's in better shape than a lot of people half her age.
At Saturday's USA Track & Field New England Championships, she broke the world record for the 400 meter dash in the 90-95 age group, running it in 2:44.25.
"I did it," she told WBZ NewsRadio's Kim Tunnicliffe. "I'm as shocked as anyone else!"
She's not a runner by nature—she's an avid tennis player, and said she doesn't even like running.
"Running is not my cup of tea," she said. "Of course, all winter, I never practiced. Before this last month, I never practiced either, because all I do is play tennis."
But when her son entered her into the event, she figured she'd give it a go.
"We were near some grass and on a bicycle path, and I'm walking ahead of them, they're so slow!" she said. "They decided at that point that I should run a race."
Hoffman said she got some advice from another runner prior to the race.
"You run fast when you start out," she said. "When you get to the curve, you slow down. Then on the way back, you run as fast as you can."
Now, she's got advice for other runners. She said she barely stretched before her first race, and that's a big mistake.
"You must warm up, which I did not, hardly at all," she said. "You gotta do better, warming and jiggling and get your heart rate up, and that's why I did so well in the second one, which was the 400, which was the longest and supposedly the most difficult, but by then I was warmed up!"
Hoffman, who said she tends to call all her friends "cookie" because she says she has trouble remembering their names, keeps a mini trampoline and other exercise equipment in her living room. She said she feels "350 years old" when she wakes up in the morning, but those exercises help get her blood pumping.
She said she wasn't in the race for personal glory.
"The joy of doing well for your family and having them so happy is as exhilarating as anything I could possibly do," she said. "I was thrilled, truly, for them."
When asked what the key to staying so fit and young at heart is, she said, "Well, the most important thing is, I eat a lot of candy, cookies, ice cream, and cake, that's my number-one secret."
WBZ NewsRadio's Kim Tunnicliffe (@KimWBZ) reports