Rae Baymiller, 68, set a single-age world record in the New York Colon Cancer Challenge 15K on Sunday, running 1:07:36 to win the 65-69 age group and finish 33rd out of 1,464 women. Her time smashed the previous record by almost nine minutes.
It's hardly the first entry in the record books for Baymiller, a Central Park Track Club New Balance member who splits her time between Santa Fe, NM, and New York City.
According to the Association of Road Racing Statisticians, Baymiller currently owns five single-age world records:
15K, Age 54 (59:03) and Age 67 (1:06:43);
"My coach gets upset with me, but I always think you're only as good as your next race," she said. "I think it's what you do going forward [that matters]."
In a pact with her daughter Tonya, made over a glass of wine, Baymiller ran her first race, the 1992 Twin Cities Marathon, at the age of 49, finishing in 3:18—an hour ahead of Tonya. But that's not to say that the training came naturally.
"My body just fought it," she said. "The first time I finished the six-mile loop around Central Park, I sat on a rock with an ice cream and thought, 'I made it!'"
For seven or eight years, Baymiller tore through the age-group record books before taking what she thought would be a short break from competitive running. The break stretched to over a decade before Baymiller came back in 2010, immediately breaking the U.S. 65-69 age-group record for 15K at the Ted Corbitt 15K.
Just because Baymiller doesn't know how many records she has set doesn't mean she isn't interested in setting them.
"I really would like to get the 15K age-group world record and the half-marathon age-group world record, for myself and for the aging population" she says. "People get into their 60s and kind of give up, and you should just never give up. Some of these older runners are just amazing. It's wonderful. I would like to be part of that group."