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Run Like Toshi

February 26, 2014 by Coach Gail

Some of you may have read the obituary in the New York Times or posted on the NYRR website about Toshiko d’Elia, the first woman to run a sub-three hour marathon at the age of 50. She passed away last week at the age of 84 from a brain tumor. Toshi, as she was known to her friends, started running in her late 40s, completing her first marathon in January of 1976 at the age of 46. That race qualified her for the Boston Marathon three months later, where she was the second recorded masters female runner finishing in 3:16:56 during a near 100-degree day. Seven months later, she ran the New York City Marathon where she placed third among the women overall, finishing in 3:08:15.

But what is more important than all her world and national records is that Toshi loved to run. She enjoyed introducing running to first-timers, teaching them to love the sport first before getting competitive. She viewed running as a friendship that requires nurturing. She said, “I view running as a necessary tool to help get me through life, so I do everything I can to nurture it, take care of it, and appreciate it. I want to hold on to my friend for as long as I live.” 

That’s why I encourage all of you to run like Toshi. Run for the pure joy of it. Run because it gives you pleasure and a feeling of satisfaction. Run the NYC Half with a joy in your heart and a deep gratitude because you can.

After every race, the first thing Toshi did was to remove her shoes and thank her feet for taking care of her. Then she would have a beer. I expect you all to do the same!
Coach Gail

Categories: Human Interest
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