This Black History Month, we honor the GAME CHANGERS: Everyday heroes whose actions make life better for the people around them. SEE ALL OUR GAME CHANGERS HERE
Place of Residence: Harlem, N.Y.
Why she is a local hero: Lucille Singleton inspires people to be healthy with her marathon running.
Singleton runs everywhere she goes. It doesn’t seem like a big deal until you realize she’s almost 90. Singleton has run three New York City Marathons and finished in the top 10 for her age group all three times.
“I just love running. It makes me feel so good,” said Singleton.
Around her Harlem neighborhood, everyone recognizes her as he senior citizen who runs. The door attendant at her senior building asks how her running is going. And when she shows up at her gym at the New York Sports Club, she can barely make it to the weights because everyone wants to hug her.
Singleton gets up at 4 a.m. to run three miles and still hits the gym three or four times per week. She’s recently had some age-related kidney problems and now needs regular dialysis. Even that hasn’t stopped her running.
“When I finish dialysis, I like to run home,” said Singleton.
Her efforts are simply inspiring, says neighbor and friend Sylvia White.
“She runs four days a week, goes to aerobics twice a week. When you see this woman you … do a double take because she looks half her age. She defies the common expectations for seniors,” said White.
Singleton is proof that it’s never too late to accomplish your goals in life. At 71, after a career as a home health aide, she became a construction worker. The manager gave her the job of a flag person but Singleton wanted more. She wanted to lift and carry things. And that’s just what she did, helping to build 19 Rite Aid stores.
Singleton also didn’t run her first marathon until she was 75 years old. A friend’s daughter was running, and Singleton, remembering her high school running days, decided to give it a try. She finished fifth in her age group.
Now, Singleton feels her running is an inspiration to others. That’s why she has no plans to stop.
“When I get out and run in the morning, the cars blow their horns and the people wave,” said Singleton. “I have fans out there so I can’t stop.”