WW2 veteran breaks world 100m record for centenarians

Lester Wright achieves feat after recently turning 100 years old at Penn Relays

A WW2 veteran has broken the world 100m record for centenarians at the recent Penn Relays.

Lester Wright, who served in a segregated unit under George Patton at both the Normandy landings and Battle of the Bugle in 1944, clocked 26.34 (0.0) in Philadelphia.

He obliterated the previous record of 26.99 which was set by fellow American Donald Pellmann in 2015.

“If you’re going to go out to run a race, you should really run the race and try to win. I don’t know how you can run to be second or third,” Wright told Fox 29 after the race.

“My wife tells me finish your race. I think it will be a wonderful legacy for my children, great grandchildren and great great grandchildren.”

Wright only became a centenarian on April 29 and then on April 30 celebrated in style in front of tens of thousands at the world’s first and largest track and field relays meeting.

It comes 24 years after he broke the M75 world 200m record at the age of 76.

Representing Shore Athletics Club, a community athletics organisation in Spring Lake, New Jersey, he crossed the line to a standing ovation. Although he finished seventh out of ninth he still beat an 86-year-old and 92-year-old.

Wright’s athletics career started in the 1930s at Long Branch High School, New Jersey, before he met his wife Adele, of whom they’ve been married for 81 years.

They raised four children and now have six grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren and 11 great-great-grandchildren.

According to Asbury Park Press, he attended college on the GI bill and opened the first African American owned dental lab in New Jersey, manufacturing false teeth.

Now long retired, Wright is sticking to running so expect another appearance at the age of 101 in 2023.

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