Edith Murway-Traina — who celebrated her 100th birthday on Sunday — is now recognized by Guinness World Records as the oldest competitive female powerlifter.
“I’m kind of annoying,” the wisecracking Tampa-based great-great-grandmother told The Post. “Tell me I can’t do something, and I will prove that I can. That’s more or less or my attitude.”
But the spry centenarian isn’t just looking to prove naysayers wrong; she thrives on the roar of the crowd.
“I love to hear the applause,” she said. “What better [thing] is there than feeling like you accomplished something and to hear everyone applaud and make you feel like you’ve done something powerful and important?”
In September 2019, Murway-Traina broke the record for oldest powerlifter by hulking upwards of 150 pounds at 98. Her inspiring achievement is marked in the 2022 edition of the “Guinness World Records” book, out next month. She stopped working out due to the pandemic, but she’s now back at the gym three times a week with her trainer, preparing for another competition in November.
“The doctors insisted I stop lifting or going to the gym because of the virus, so I backed off for a while,” she said. “Now I am starting from scratch and seeing what I can accomplish.”
A mother of five (four of whom are still living), grandmother of 11, great-grandmother of 10 and great-great-grandmother of two, Murway-Traina has long been physically active. She used to be a dance instructor, and always wanted to be like Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. She and her friends would put on line dancing shows together.
“We thought we were pretty bright,” she quipped.
At 91, she discovered a new passion when she reluctantly accompanied her friend Carmen Gutworth to the gym.
“She didn’t want to go by herself,” Murway-Traina recalled. “She dragged me kicking and screaming all the way, so that’s more or less how I got there. I saw all these other ladies lifting weights, and it looked interesting. I picked up a couple of weights and had to prove to myself that I could accomplish this.”
Then she got into heavy metal, lifting larger and larger weights.
“When you pull a bar up and you lift it, there’s a certain power that you experience that is only yours. It belongs to you,” said Murway-Traina, who eventually started competing in senior games — and winning.
“The first time she went out and went to a seniors game, she surprised everybody. She got medals and the applause,” her daughter Honey Cottrell told The Post. “She doesn’t really brag about it. All of a sudden we heard she was a record holder. She’s very honored.”
Born in the Bronx to an Irish mother and Latvian father who worked in the Garment District, Murway-Traina was raised near the Grand Concourse. She worked various jobs including bookkeeping in the garment industry and then clerical roles for Grumman Aerospace, which produced much of the military’s aircraft. The latter produced a brush with a high flying hero. One day at work, she recalled that she was toiling near a test pilot and she asked to borrow two paperclips, which he politely handed over.
“He was known as Chuck Yeager. That’s my story, and I am sticking with it,” said Murway-Traina.
The spunky matriarch has outlived two husbands and still lives on her own. She quit smoking years ago and has two martinis a year: one on Christmas and another on her birthday. When it comes to nutrition, Murway-Traina is reluctant to dispense advice, saying she ate “whatever mama put in front of [me] . . . If mama tells you to do it, then you do it.”
Her other secret to longevity: laughter and good-natured ribbing.
“I have a couple of friends sitting here making fun of me. That’s how I keep going. If I can make someone smile and laugh, that feels pretty good.”
She also has good genes: One grandfather also made it to the centenarian club, living to age 102.
“I didn’t expect to be in that category [too],” she said. “But since I got here, I feel pretty good about it.”
For the big birthday, Murway-Traina had a small gathering where she wore a gold dress to mark the golden milestone and line-danced with friends to “New York, New York.” And although she hopes to add another trophy to her collection in November, she’s grateful for every new day.
“There’s nothing more that I can ask for than to open my eyes in the morning and know God gave me another day.” she said. “You can’t ask for more than that.”