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Mary Allen Hardison, 101, Sets Guinness Record For Oldest Paraglider (VIDEO)

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Mary Allen Hardison, 101, has just set a world record as the
Mary Allen Hardison, 101, has just set a world record as the "Oldest Female to Paraglide Tandem."

Just living to be 101 is a momentous achievement, but Mary Allen Hardison set the bar even higher -- about a few hundred feet in the air.

Hardison celebrated the big 1-0-1 last September by going paragliding over the skies of her hometown of Ogden, Utah, and, as a result, she now owns the Guinness World Record for "Oldest Female to Paraglide Tandem."

Hardison, who set the record in front of a group of spectators that included her children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and even great-great grandchildren, admitted that part of the reason she took to the skies was out of competition with her 75-year-old son.

"I don't want my son to do anything I can't do, so I decided to go have fun like he did," Hardison told KSL-TV right after the record-breaking flight, which was done with the help of her instructor, Kevin Hintze.

Anyone who bet Hardison might want to take it easy while in the air was sorely mistaken, according to Hintze.

"She wanted me to go upside down -- do whatever I wanted," Hintze said. "She was hardcore."

Paragliding is a long way off from Hardison's primary hobby, knitting garments for the less fortunate: hats for children’s hospitals, crocheted bandages for leopards (yes, leopards) in India and knit caps for premature babies.

And she's not necessarily been a daredevil in the past either. Her closest experience to anything extreme was riding all the rides at Disneyland at age 90.

No wonder Diane Swain, Hardison's granddaughter, was scared that her grandmother might regret this particular celebration.

"My initial reaction was 'No, You can't let her,'" Swain said to the Salt Lake Tribune. "Then I thought, 'No, I know my grandma well enough to know that, if she wants to do it, she's going to do it.'"

Hardison may have boldly gone where no 101-year-old man or woman has gone before, but she's not letting the honor go to her head.

"I feel very humble in setting a new Guinness World Record," she said. "My desire is for the elderly to keep on going, do things as long as you are physically able. Be positive. Friends don't like a grumpy person.”

Hardison also urges other senior citizens to stay moving and to continue to challenge themselves, even if it means they may break her current record.

"When a person is busy, the hurts seem to ease up," she said. "If you are able and even older than I, then I'm happy for people to attempt to break my record. I promise the experience will be well worth it!"

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly printed Mary Allen Hardison's name as Mary Ellen Hardison.

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