(Photo from Runners World)
To the very last mile, she was an inspiration.
Joy Johnson, the oldest woman to complete the New York City Marathon, has died. She was 86.
“We are saddened to hear about the passing of Joy Johnson, who finished her 25th New York City Marathon on Sunday,” the New York Road Runners said in a statement. “Our deepest condolences go out to Joy’s family and friends. She was an inspiration to us all.”
Runners World reports that Johnson became the New York City Marathon’s oldest woman finisher in 2011 when she ran 7:44:45 at age 84. This year, Johnson finished the race in 7:57:41.
Johnson stumbled and hit her head on the road at about the 20th mile.
Her sister, Faith Anderson, told the New York Daily News that medics wanted to take Johnson to the hospital but she insisted on continuing the race. On Monday, Johnson felt tired and lay down on her bed at her hotel. She never woke up.
The New York Post reports: Johnson died from complications of blunt trauma to her head and blood-thinning therapy for a heart ailment, according to the Medical Examiner’s Office. Her death on Monday was ruled an accident, spokeswoman Grace Brugess said.
Runners World reports that the day before the race, Johnson said: ”I always say I’m going to run until I drop. I’m going to die in my tennis shoes. I just don’t know when I’m going to quit.”