At 90 years of age, Diane Hoffman isn’t a typical sprinter. On Saturday at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, she broke the United States 100-meter dash record for the 90+ age group at the 2018 USATF East Region and New England Masters.
Hoffman, who has lived in Boston for more than 60 years, crossed the finish line at 24.22 seconds, crushing the previous record of 31.53 seconds set in 1995, and missing the world record by a mere 1.07 seconds.
“I am thrilled,” Hoffman said. “I really wanted to do it for my son [Matt Hoffman]. I’m just a little upset that I didn’t break the world record because the few times I practiced on grass, I actually beat it.”
Incredibly, Saturday’s Masters event was the first track and field meet Hoffman has participated in. She’ll tell you that she’s a tennis player at heart. Though she didn’t pick up a tennis racket until she was 42 years old, she’s since developed into one of the world’s best in her age group.
Hoffman traveled to Turkey to represent the United States in the Queens Cup in 2005 and helped the Americans to a doubles championship in the 75-and-up age group. At that time, she was also ranked No. 2 individually. She is a member of the US Tennis Association’s New England Hall of Fame in Providence.
“I’m not a runner. That's not my cup of tea,” Hoffman said. “I’m a tennis player. I don’t know anything about running. I’m just blessed to have good legs and when I play tennis, one of the best parts of my game is that I can move. I’ve just been active my whole life.”
Hoffman’s tennis abilities certainly have transitioned well to the track and it seems as though she won’t stop running until that world record is hers.
“I really feel like I’ve already done it,” she said. “My son is going to find out which places I can go and enter so that I can hopefully get that world record.”