Seventy-nine-year-old Florence Barron in the 2015 Cape to Cabot race.
Seventy-nine-year-old Florence Barron made headlines in July with her record-breaking time in the well known Tely 10 road race in St. John’s.
Barron was clocked at 1:27 - beating her own record for women’s 75-79 age group.
Barron, who now resides in St. John’s, is originally from Quirpoon, on the province’s Northern Peninsula.
She moved from St. John’s to Labrador with her husband, Jim Barron, and their young family in 1963 when he went to work for Wabush Mines.
Having lived in Wabush for 30 years, Barron considers the town her home.
Living in Wabush was also an opportunity to stay physically active, she said.
“I raised five children but I never stopped doing my workouts. Labrador was a great place for me. I love the outdoors. So I thoroughly enjoyed it there going sliding and skating and skiing.”
An avid swimmer, Barron spent many hours volunteering as a lifeguard at the Wabush pool over the years.
“I took the first lesson when the pool opened back in 1965 and I haven’t stopped since,” she recalled.
When Barron moved back to St. John’s after her husband’s retirement she began entering the Tely 10 (16-km race).
“I ran my first Tely 10 in 1997. I got a gold medal so I thought it was great. So then I took lessons with the Running Room on how to run. I got to love it so much. I enjoy it a lot.”
Barron has been entering the annual road race ever since. She’s made lifelong friends through her running, she said.
Runners support each other and are there for each other, she said.
Barron said she found running a great stress reliever after her husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. (Jim Barron passed away five years ago).
A member of Athletics Northeast, Barron has returned to Labrador over the years to compete in several sporting events including the Great Labrador Loppet.
When asked if she expected to do so well in the 2017 Tely 10, Barron said her result didn’t come as a surprise.
“I knew I was in the last year of my age category (Barron will move to the 80-84 age category in 2018). I knew my record wasn’t great and I wanted to break it. I took three minutes off my record and I was delighted with that,” she said.
For Barron, her love of running gets her out into the community and helps her stay healthy.
She encourages people, particularly younger men and women, to become physically active as part of a healthy lifestyle.
“Sometimes, (being physically active) is tough. You have to work for it. But the benefits are great... I don’t take any medication at all. And I think that being physically fit keeps you away from all kinds of diseases like hypertension and diabetes,” she said.
Barron will run the Huffin' Puffin Half Marathon in St. John’s on Sept. 17 followed by the 10-kilometre Turkey Tea Run on Oct. 7 in Mount Pearl.
She’s also looking forward to competing in the gruelling 20-kilometre Cape to Cabot race on Oct. 15. The race starts at Cape Spear and ends at Signal Hill.
Barron has no intentions of giving up running anytime soon.
She’ll be out to set a new record in the 80-84 age category in the 2018 Tely 10.
“People have told me that I’m their inspiration. So, if I can motivate someone, that’s wonderful,” she said.