Body Building Grandma Ernestine Shepherd Bench Presses, Runs Marathons At 73

She hit the gym, this time to keep a promise to her beloved sister. In 2007, she began running. She now runs in the park for two to three hours a day and has a 5K time of 28 minutes.

She has also completed eight marathons and has her sights set on the New York and Boston races, warning competitors that "the old lady's comin'."

Shepherd has snagged modeling gigs and posed for Essence magazine. Even Oprah Winfrey came calling, she said, but the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks took her off the lineup. She also took first place in her class at the Tournament of Champions' bodybuilding competition in 2008.

When Shepherd was named to the Guiness Book of World Records, she took Blackwell's ashes to Rome with her.

"When I got to the Coliseum I cried," she said. "I stood there and I spread her ashes."

She is now trained by former Mr. Universe Yohannie Shambourger.

"She's special because no one can have that kind of muscle at her age," he said. "Ernestine has a body where she can compete against younger athletes and actually beat them."

Standing nearly 5' 5" and weighing between 118 and 120 pounds, Shepherd is adamant that she doesn't use any performancing enhancing drugs or even supplements other than vitamin D.

"I don't want to train my ladies and give them the false impression of supplements," she said.

Plus, with her 74th birthday in less than two months, Shepherd said taking care of herself is paramount.

"I have old things in my body," she said.

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