Who says retirement village residents rarely extend their fitness routine beyond the occasional game of lawn bowls or doing a little gardening?

A 78-year-old resident from a Victorian retirement village has blown that notion out of the water by setting an Australian record for distance running.

Stockland Salford Park retirement village resident Lavinia Petrie recently competed in the 3km race in her category at the 50th Anniversary Victorian Masters Athletics competition. 

Lavinia set the Australian record with a time of 14 minutes and 21 seconds at the event, a time which was also close to the world record.

“Running has been a passion of mine for a long time, and I enjoy competing in running events locally and internationally,” Lavinia said.

“My goal now is to break the world record in the three-kilometre and 10-kilometre competitions.

“I'm just a few seconds off each one.”

Lavinia has been running from the age of 16, although in recent years has been more competitive. 

To keep on track and healthy, Lavinia has joined the Stockland Salford Park Retirement Village walking group and although nothing compared to her competitive running, it does provide her with social connection within the community. 

Lavinia takes part in an ahtletics competition

“With the Salford Park walking group, we stroll around and chat. After I walk with them, I feel good, and it’s great for the company. 

“My best advice on running is to listen to your body. If you hurt, stop, and take action on what your body tells you,” said Lavinia. 

Trudi Holz, Village Manager said: “Lavinia is a true inspiration in the community, following and continuing a passion she enjoys. 

“We encourage all residents to get involved in the community’s initiatives, such as the walking club. Many of the residents join the activities that involve walking or exercising as they find this a great way to stay fit and connected. 

Another shot of Lavinia on the running track

“Stockland aims to create a thriving and connected community and is committed to providing current and future residents with the tools needed to remain social, independent, healthy and active,” said Ms Holz.

Stockland Salford Park is located in Melbourne's east.