Reaching the age of 100 in good health and good spirits is an accomplishment in its own right, but training to take home your next weightlifting trophy truly takes the (birthday) cake.
At the age of 98 years and 94 days, great-great-grandmother Edith Murway-Traina already had a Guinness World Record (GWR) as the “oldest female competitive powerlifter” under her belt—and she successfully deadlifted 150 pounds to do it. Traina’s storied win will be featured in the Guinness World Records 2022 edition.
As a former dance instructor and performer, physical fitness was always a way of life for the Bronx-born Florida transplant, but considering she took up weightlifting a scant nine years ago, the progress Traina’s made is truly impressive—especially since discovering her newfound avocation was pretty much a happy accident.
Traina was tagging along with pal Carmen Gutworth who’d cajoled her into accompanying her to the gym to try out some new exercises.
“She didn’t want to go by herself,” Murway-Traina told the New York Post. “She dragged me kicking and screaming all the way, so that’s more or less how I got there.
“I saw all these other ladies lifting weights, and it looked interesting. I picked up a couple of weights and had to prove to myself that I could accomplish this.”
While Gutworth disputes her friend’s version of the events: “You can’t drag Edith anywhere,” she jokingly told GWR. “Edith kept going because she always keeps going. She will not quit, and anything that’s hard… that makes her more determined. If it’s easy, she might get bored, but if it’s hard, she’s going to do it. Nobody’s going to tell her, ‘Oh, that’s too hard for me.’”
Once she got started, Traina turned out to be a natural. Soon enough, she was on the team, competing in senior events, and bringing home accolades and awards.
“When you pull a bar up and you lift it, there’s a certain power that you experience that is only yours. It belongs to you,” she told the Post.
Traina admits that harking back to her days as an entertainer, a great deal of her motivation has to do with how much she enjoys being in the limelight and the positive feedback she’s received. She says that every time she’d compete, she’d get applause, and every time she’d get applause, she’d get a little bit happier.
At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Traina’s doctors sent her to the sidelines but she returned to the gym as soon as she got the green light. She’s now back in training with coach Bill Beekley, working hard to make up for lost time and get back in shape for an upcoming November competition at which she hopes to bring home yet another winner’s cup to add to her collection.
Traina also appreciates that her current notoriety largely has to do with her advanced age, but as long as she can be a positive role model who blows the “sweet little old lady stereotype” out of the water, she’s good with that.
“I think in my nineties, I became more aware of the need for people to be recognized for who they are, or what they are, or how they are and it’s the most beautiful thing in the world,” she told GWR. “I think I survive on that, mostly, myself.”
That, some well-deserved applause, and her next trophy, of course.