88-year-old nun runs marathon - WNEM TV 5

88-year-old nun runs marathon

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(Source: CBS) (Source: CBS)
DETROIT (CBS) -

She’s been blessed by the pope, traveled the world and no, those aren’t even the most interesting things about her.

Most people turn and look because as she nears the age of 89, Sister Beth Woods still runs and we aren’t talking to the corner and back.

“That’s always been my goal, just to cross that finish line,” Woods said.

If you ask Woods, she’d say she doesn’t run. She said it’s more like she plows the ground. But never mind the modesty, at the age of 88-years-old, she can run.

“I think people cheer me when they see my hair rather than when they see my speed,” Woods said.

It’s hard to imagine that she didn’t start running ‘til after her 50th birthday. Her brother picked up the phone and asked her to run a race.

“And I said, ‘yeah, I guess so,’” Woods said. “That was the launching pad.”

From that first race to the first marathon, she ran one each year in the 80s.

"I definitely walked some of that," Woods said.

No, she wasn’t the fastest, but that’s not what matters.

“It’s no crime, it’s no sin to walk in a race,” Woods said.

If you ask her the most important race she ever took part in, it’d probably be the marathon she ran while working in Rome.

The shirt she has from the marathon is only half the story. Pope John Paul II blessed her and her training runs. She carried them around the historic Coliseum.

She still remembers those early morning runs.

"Then the priests are just thinking about getting up. Not really, they're already up," Woods said.

You can get the feeling the phrase, “the early bird gets the worm” was created for Sister Woods and don’t expect her to start sleeping in anytime soon.

“I would love to run into my 90s. I don’t know if that’s possible or it that’s stretching it with God. I’m leaving it up to God. When I can’t run anymore because of my legs, or my feet, then I’ll know it’s time to stop," Woods said.

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