MIAMI (CBS4) — A Miami-Dade school teacher, on the job for 35 years, has proven it’s never too late to start something new. After decades of motivating her students and her own children, she was looking for a new adventure. Now this 70-year-old grandmother is racing for time and winning.

When 5th grade teacher Joann Sampson retired, she was looking for a new challenge and stumbled upon an ad in the newspaper for the South Florida Senior Games.

“I had been retired since 2000 and I think this was like 2002 and I missed the kids so I said ‘What is the senior games let me see what that’s about’,” explained Sampson.

Sampson had never been a runner but decided to train for the event. Eight years ago, at age 62, she laced up her running shoes for the first time to compete in the 100-meter race. She won the gold medal.

“That took me to the state and when I got to the state I won the silver then I went to the nationals so the rest is history,” explained Sampson.

Sampson says when she first started she had a lot of body fat, wasn’t very flexible and struggled building muscle. It wasn’t long, however, before the transformation took hold.

“I’ve learned corrective exercise, flexibility and balance,” said Sampson. “I always thinking about the 3 D’s you know I have to have determination and I’m dedicated what I’m doing and you must have discipline.”

She now works out daily and competes in about 8 races a year. She also shares her story with South Florida students and hopes to motivate others her age to get moving.

“I’m just really, really, really, surprised at the things I’m doing and can do now,” said Sampson proudly. “It’s never too late. Age is nothin’ but a number. It’s really what’s in your heart that matters.”

Just three weeks ago, Sampson competed in the senior games held in Miami Lakes and took home a few more medals for her growing collection.

If you’d like to know more about Sampson, just visit her website.



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