TODAY

TODAY   |  November 06, 2013

Joy Johnson, face of NYC marathon, dies at 86

Marathon runner Joy Johnson, a longtime friend of TODAY, died one day after appearing on the plaza after she completed the New York City Marathon for the 25th time. TODAY’s Al Roker reports.

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>> is on our window all the time, john -- joy johnson, she was a long time friend of the "today" show passed away . at 86 years old, she was an avid runner, taking part in her 25th new york city marathon over the weekend. as always, she stopped by the plaza on monday for a chat just hours before she passed away .

>> 86-year-old joy johnson died one day after doing what her daughter says joy loved most.

>> besides her faith and her family, i would say running was one of the big loves of her life.

>> joy ran the new york marathon for the 25th time sunday. she fell near mile 20. but refused medical treatment and finished the race in just under eight hours. monday morning with a bandage on her head, she continued a long standing tradition, visiting us here on the plaza.

>> my gosh, you fell yesterday. but you're okay?

>> oh, yeah. it looks worse than it really is.

>> you look beautiful. thank you for coming here.

>> joy told her sister she doesn't feel well. she went back to her hotel for a nap but never woke up.

>> she wanted to die with her track shoes on and she did, literally.

>> joy was the oldest woman to complete the new york marathon . a title since 2011 . the 86-year-old grew oun a minnesota dairy farm moving west to california, working as a gym teacher, she didn't take up running until the age of 59 when a friend suggested they enter the 1988 new york marathon . she became a familiar face in marathon as cross the country, even profiled by "the wall street journal ."

>> if my husband was living, oh, he would be so proud.

>> joyce post marathon routine included a stop on the plaza.

>> this young lady has been in every -- every year she comes here. congratulations. good to see you here again. we always look forward to seeing you.

>> she has to talk to her buddy al.

>> how did you do this year?

>> really slow. but at 73 --

>> i was going to say.

>> the new york marathon won't be the same without joy and neithering our plaza. she would have turned 87 on christmas day . and even leading up to last race she stuck to her routine which