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Bungee jumping great granny to set new world record

STANDING at the edge of Kawarau Bridge in Queenstown, New Zealand, Mary Manssen felt no nerves as she plunged 43 metres with nothing but a rope around her ankles.

Little did she know when she stepped off the edge, she stepped into a record book as the oldest woman in New Zealand to bungee jump.

Did we mention Ms Manssen was 91-years-old?

"I had no idea I was the oldest woman in New Zealand to do it so I was very surprised to find out," the now 93-year-old said.

Despite her massive achievement, Ms Manssen is not stopping there.

Ms Manssen is in Howard this week after travelling from New Zealand to visit her son, Keith, and it was a time to reminisce and absorb the next massive goal she has set for herself.

Next year in November, she will attempt to break another record - this time as the oldest woman in the world to bungee jump.

Currently, the record is held by a 94-year-old woman.

With just a little over a year to go, Ms Manssen is determined to take the title with a plan to take her next leap in November after her birthday. It was in 2009, when Mary's husband passed away, that she decided to take a leap of faith, quite literally, at age 84. "I wanted to bungee jump from the very first time I saw it on a tour in New Zealand," she said.

"I used to do tours with my husband on the south island (of NZ) when he was alive but he wouldn't let me (bungee jump)," she said.

"I think he was always too worried about me but I've always loved heights - they never bothered me."

93 yr old Mary Manssen visiting her son Keith in Howard - she is the oldest woman in New Zealand to have gone bungee jumping at the age of 91.
93 yr old Mary Manssen visiting her son Keith in Howard - she is the oldest woman in New Zealand to have gone bungee jumping at the age of 91. Alistair Brightman

Wanting to experience the adrenaline rush again, seven years later, Ms Manssen decided it was time to take another leap and the rest was history.

Son, Keith, said when he heard his mother had become the oldest woman in New Zealand to bungee jump, he thought "you're nuts".

"I thought 'what? Are you crazy?' but I'm very proud," he said.

"To be honest, if you're young at heart, why not?"

When Ms Manssen isn't jumping off bridges in New Zealand and breaking records she enjoys some less adrenaline pumping activities to keep her busy.

"I play golf three to five times a week and I help the disabled on a Wednesday," she said.

"I still drive myself everywhere too.

"If you don't do anything you're just going to stiffen up."

Ms Manssen has always lead an active lifestyle having been a champion runner when she was a teenager.

"I used to do a lot of running - up to 120 yards when I was 15," she said.

"I would go to work and then hang around and go to sports and then ride home on my bike in the dark."

Despite a life full of excitement and achievements, there was one she was particularly proud of - her family.

Ms Manssen has seven children, 18 grandchildren, 37 great grandchildren and four great-great grandchildren.

Topics:  mary manssen new zealand retirement-living wellbeing world record


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