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.
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!
“Our races are to our sport what Wimbledon and the Australian, U.S., and French Opens are to tennis, and what the Masters, U.S., and British Opens and PGA Championship are to golf. Each race has the history, the tradition, the honor roll of legendary champions, and a special place in the eyes of all to make them stand apart from the other events.” Mary Wittenberg