EUGENE, Ore. (KMTR) - The Olympic track and field trials has drawn thousands of people into Eugene over the past few days, including some famous faces.
Perhaps one of the most notable - Sister Marion Irvine - a Dominican nun who took up running late in life but broke numerous records and even made history.
"The running nun, the flying nun, all sorts of acronyms like that, yes," she laughed.
Sister Irvine met with NewsSource 16 Friday to talk about her accomplishments.
"I began running at age 48 in 1978," she remembered. "I began running marathons in 1980. I ended up running 16 of them."
Sister Irvine, a Roman Catholic in the convent, said she took up running because she wanted to be healthier.
"I was a big, fat smoker," she said.
In 1984, 16 marathons later, at 54 years old, Sister Irvine qualified for the Olympic trials. The '84 trials were the first to allow women thanks to the installment of Title IX.
"I can remember running and some people were on the side lines saying, 'Sister! You're making history!' And I'd say, 'you're right!' And I was cheering and clapping for myself and shaking hands instead of running," she laughed. "If I had done less waving and more running I probably could have broken 2:50 that day."
Since then, Sister Irvine has been called a record-breaking great. She won numerous awards and medals, making great time in multiple races.
"Hayward Field is especially a fond place for me because in 1989 I won five golds," she said.
Sister Irvine has been to Eugene twice now for the Olympic trials, watching from the stands in 2008 and again in 2012. She laughed, comparing it to the trials in Sacramento, where she has also been twice to watch.
"It's so hot there. Here, you don't have to take a shower when you get home because you've already gotten one!"
And while she looks on from the stands, Sister Irvine constantly thinks about Title IX's importance, knowing what it has done for women nationwide, evident in this year's trials.
""When I see women running and I am on the sidelines, watching, I say women's power! Go girl go! You know, people laugh but it's not a joke anymore," she said.