Kickass Woman Of The Day: Joy Johnson, 86, The Oldest Woman To Run The NYC Marathon, Dies Days After Completing 25th Race

Amelia McDonell-Parry / November 5, 2013

Joy Johnson, the oldest woman to ever run the New York City Marathon, died today at age 86, just two days after she successfully completed her 25th run in the race. Johnson, who’s from San Jose, California, hit her head around the 20th mile on Sunday, but refused medical attention and successfully completely the 26.4 mile race in eight hours. (At her peak in the mid ’90s, Johnson’s time was around five hours.) In a pre-race interview, she explained, “I’ll be at the back of the pack, but I don’t mind. I just praise the Lord I can get out of bed each morning and run. A lot of people my age are in wheelchairs.”

On Monday morning, the day after the marathon, Johnson stopped by “The Today Show,” as had become tradition in her years coming to NYC, and then went back to her hotel for a nap. She never woke up. “At least she was running, the way she wanted to go,” said Johnson’s daughter, Diana Boydston. Indeed. What a bittersweet reminder to never stop doing what you love. [NY Daily News]