Gladys “Glady” Burrill says she saw the serious look on Honolulu Marathon Association President Jim Barahal’s face and thought he was going to tell her not to do any more marathons. Instead, he told her that she would be inducted into the marathon’s Hall of Fame.
“It’s unbelievable,” said Burrill shortly before the induction ceremony Thursday at the marathon expo at the Hawaii Convention Center. “I’ve hardly absorbed it. It seems a little unreal.”
The Hall of Fame plaque notes that Burrill gained the Guinness Book of World Records for being the oldest female to complete a marathon. She finished the Honolulu race at age 92 last year in nine hours, 53 minutes and 16 seconds. It was her fifth Honolulu finish in seven years.
The plaque says the woman known as “The Gladyator” “redefines what is possible.” It says she is “a true inspiration not only to the people of Hawaii but to people around the world.”
“People tell me that all the time,” Glady said of the inspiration citation. “It’s uplifting to me. It’s emotional to me that I can inspire someone in my little way,” she said.
Burrilll has “retired” from the marathon distance, and this year will lead a team participating in the 10-kilometer Race Day
Walk. Entry fees for her Team Gladyator will go to the Lokahi Giving Project, which benefits those less fortunate. “It will be difficult after seven years for me to stop at 10 kilometers,” she said.
Gov. Neil Abercrombie also honored Burrill at the ceremony, presenting her a proclamation designating the day as Gladys Burrill Day in Hawaii. Also attending the ceremony were her son, Mike, Sr., and daughters Celeste Sweat and Helen Ashley, all of Oregon.
Burrill is a part-time resident of Honolulu but says she is becoming more of a full-time resident. “It means so much to be here because the people here have given their hearts to me.”