Joy Johnson, Oldest Woman to Complete NYC Marathon, Dies Day After Race

by at .  Updated at . Comments

On Sunday, Joy Johnson became the oldest woman to finish the 2013 New York City Marathon, inspiring millions with her dedication to the event.

On Monday, this 86-year old passed away.

According to Joy's sister, the impressive runner fell and hit her head around the 20-mile mark over the weekend, yet insisted on completing the course.

The next morning, however - after being interviewed by Al Roker on the Today Show - Johnson died in her sleep. Her body was found later Monday afternoon.

“At least she was running, the way she wanted to go,” Johnson's daughter Diana Boydston told The New York Daily News following her sad passing.

A former gym teacher and native of San Jose, Johnson reportedly succumbed to her head injury and to the blood-thinning medication she took for a heart flutter.

She has been the oldest woman to run the marathon every year since 2011.

“I’ll be at the back of the pack, but I don’t mind,” Johnson said in a pre-race interview Sunday. “I just praise the Lord I can get out of bed each morning and run."

"A lot of people my age are in wheelchairs.”

Joy Johnson on Today
Tags: , ,