I want to be like Betty

 I want to be like Betty

Meet Betty. Betty is 70 years young and this weekend, she’ll be running the Umstead 100-mile race in North Carolina. Yes, you read that right–she’s 70 and running a 100-miler.

I met Betty last weekend at the ChiRunning clinic I attended. Betty was one of the instructors who helped out and she amazed us all with her beautiful running form and energy to spare. I was so impressed  that I had to share her story.

Betty wasn’t always the energizer bunny that she is today. Some 40 years ago, Betty was over 200 lbs, a smoker, and lacking the energy to run around with her young daughter. She took up running and made drastic changes to her diet and transformed her life. Since 1988 she’s run 76 half marathons, marathons and ultras on all seven continents. Over the past seven years she’s adopted the chi running technique as well as embraced minimalist shoes.

What’s the secret to Betty’s success? She claims it can be found in her willingness to work long and hard and eat the right things, which has resulted in more than two decades without illness, aches, or pains. In fact, Betty says that she has finished 24 hour races, without rest breaks, with more energy than when she started. Her fitness level can’t be argued, as she has a resting heart rate of just 28 beats, “lower than Lance Armstrong’s at his peak fitness,” she likes to point out.

Betty knows she’s an anomaly among her peers and plans to parlay that into a book and a program called “Runtoahundred.” I know that when that book comes out, I’ll be first in line to buy it. Like I said, when I grow up, I want to be like Betty!

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  1. Betty is impressive! I want to be a bit like Betty when I grow up: meaning that I hope to be as fit and active when I'm 70 too.

    I read an article in the Dutch Runner's World this weekend about a Dutch woman who's 80 years old and still is a running coach. She trains her groups 3 times a week and runs with them on every run. I thought that was impressive too.

  2. Wow! Betty is such an inspiration. I want to be be Bett too!

  3. Wowzers. You can add my name to the list of Betty's fans!

  4. Wow, thats an amazing story. Very inspiring. Next time I think I can't do something I need to think about Betty! Thanks for sharing her story with us.

  5. Amazing! I want to be like Betty Too! :)

  6. Caratunk Girl says:

    WOW! That is awesome. I so hope I can be like her someday!!

  7. Silly Girl Running says:

    Wow! I think we all want to be like Betty! :)

  8. Amazing! What an inspiration! I want to be like Betty as well!

  9. KC (my 140 point 6 mile journey) says:

    I want to read that book when it comes out, especially the nutrition part.

  10. Betty is amazing. I want to be just like her too! Gosh I wish her all the best of luck in that 100 miler!

  11. Jogging with Fiction says:

    Holy cow! I want to be like her too! 28 beats per min!? I thought mine was slow at 50 or 45!

  12. fancy nancy says:

    What an inspriation she is!!! I would love to read that one when it comes out!!! GO BETTY!!!

  13. Aaaa-mazing!! I love hearing stories like this! Think you could get the hook up on an autographed copy of her book;)!!?


    I was going to be a pacer for that race and bailed, I wish I had gone now so that i could have met her after this post!

  15. Mamarunsbarefoot says:

    Ultras are one of my goals if I can work ALL my kinks out..Very inspiring

  16. Big Daddy Diesel says:

    That is freaking awesome!!!!!

  17. runningonwords says:

    Woah, 28 bpm? That's amazing! I will definitely read her book!

  18. *~* *~* Tracy says:

    Amazing! I want to be like Betty when I grow up!

  19. Simply amazing.

  20. Now that is a woman I can get behind! She sounds simply wonderful!

  21. Did you ask for a urine sample? WOW!!!

  22. Michelle says:

    Incredible! I will be thinking of Betty on my next long run! And I definitely want to read her book when it comes out!

  23. Lisa {eatprayrun-lisa.blogspot.com} says:

    That is absolutely AMAZING!! What an inspiration. It must have been incredible just to be in her presence. The human spirit has unlimited potential and it's nice to get a reminder of that sometimes. GO BETTY!!

    PS Does she blog? ( :

  24. trifitmom says:

    holy cannoli

  25. This is an amazing story! She's an inspiration!

  26. Runners Fuel says:

    I want ot be like Betty when I'm 70!

  27. Lovely! That is the type of people that inspire others. I agree, I also want to be able to inspire others.

  28. Jeff - DangleTheCarrot says:


  29. Holy cow, that's awesome!

  30. Cory Reese says:

    That is incredible! I hope I can be like that when I grow up.

  31. Jess @ Blonde Ponytail says:

    What an inspiration! You meet or find out about the coolest people! Such a picture of health after losing weight and giving up smoking!

  32. So inspiring! I love stories like this and would buy her book in a hot second.

  33. Wow…that is just amazing! Good for her!

  34. I am beyond impressed. She is amazing! I really look forward to that book coming out!

  35. wowzers! i wish i could think of something witty or profound to say here, but all i can think is "wowzers!" that's amazing. get it, betty!

  36. BOMB. i want to be like betty too. and you! :)

  37. MY LORD. I want to be like Betty too. What an INSPIRATIONAL woman.

  38. Yep, I'd read her book too! What an example she is for what's possible in life and in running…to be happy, healthy and running to 100! love it! she's definitely an inspiration.

  39. Wow, Betty's incredible. She'd the stuff that I'd like to be made of.

  40. Shellyrm ~ just a country runner says:

    When I grow young I want to be just like Betty too!

  41. funderson says:

    Betty rules!!!

  42. Ok I want to be like Betty. Their are somedays I think can I really keep this up till I'm 60 not even 70. I want her genes please.

  43. SupermomE12 says:

    She is AWESOME!!!! That is my ultimate goal… to be running lots when I am that age and inspiring others. Thanks for sharing! :)

  44. umm wow. impressive! i want to be like betty too!!

  45. I hope to be like Betty at her age. I wish I was like Betty at my age now.

  46. Betty kicks butt. I want to be like Betty too!!!! Thanks for sharing her story.

  47. marathonmaiden says:

    wowza. i hope to be like betty too! this is so incredible. resting HR of 28?! crazy!

  48. Atlanta Plastic Surgeons says:

    That is great going.the fitness levels are awesome.It is very good to be fit and healthy in fact these are the only true treasures of the age.

    breast reconstruction surgery Los Angeles

  49. Sarah Kopf says:

    Betty is pretty awesome! I would buy her book in a minute!


  50. Richelle says:

    Wow… I hope I'm still running by age 70! What an inspiring story!

  51. Wow, that is mighty impressive! Congrats to her for coming for far!

  52. That is awesome! I want to be like Betty too! And I think it's really possible!

  53. I've been reading every book I can get a hold of regarding ultra runners and their stories. If nothing motivates you to get through 3 – 4 hours of a marathon like those folks putting 30 hours on a trail, climbing 9000 feet nothing will.
    I get so inspired by their stories and their will power to continue when faced with every adversity.
    Go Betty! I'll never accomplished what she's done but maybe I'll get half way there :)

  54. Can I be her too!!!!

  55. La Historiadora de Moda says:

    Wow! Betty is amazing!

  56. Anabela (Bela) Neves says:

    All I can say is "Go Betty Go"! She is amazing!

  57. Chris K says:

    That's crazy. She looks so young. Just think, in 40 years someone will be writing "I want to be like Miss Zippy". She's 70 and just ran the Boston Marathon.

  58. Black Knight says:

    Awesome story! …and I am with Chris, someone will be writing "I want to be like Miss Zippy"!!!!

  59. ABSOLUTELY INSPIRING! Thanks for sharing.

    Winks & Smiles,

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