From the U.K. comes a story with vaguely Onion-esque undertones. Jean Hirst, who was the Nottinghamshire County Schools 100-yard-dash champion during the Eisenhower administration, had her handbag snatched by one in a trio of teenage girls and proceeded to catch the culprit.
As a track and field aficionado I took particular interest in this part:
“She had a head start but I covered 70 yards in about 15 seconds and was within two strides of her when she looked over her shoulder and saw me.
“She probably thought I was an easy target but she shouldn’t have judged a book by its cover. The look on her face was one of sheer amazement and she just threw my bag aside.”
I realize that Mrs. Hirst was only guessing at her speed, but there’s a good chance she was underestimating it. 70 yards in 15 seconds translates to a 100-meter dash in about 23 seconds. That’s well off the 70-to-74 age-group world record (15.16 seconds) for women, and over 30 percent slower than the 35th-best mark ever.
More importantly, it’s unlikely that even a thief supremely confident in her target’s infirmity would grab a purse on foot if incapable of holding 6:00-per-mile pace for at least half a minute or so. Even an untrained, somewhat out-of-shape teenage girl should be able to knock out 100 meters in 20 seconds.
We need video analysis, dammit.