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Oldest Female In NYC Marathon Dies Just A Day After Race

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An 86-year-old California woman -- the oldest female to complete Sunday’s New York City Marathon -- reportedly died only a day after finishing the 26.2-mile race, according to the New York Daily News.

Joy Johnson, of San Jose, Calif., fell and hit her head around the 20th-mile mark of the grueling race, according to her 83-year-old sister, Faith Anderson, who was with Johnson in New York City. Although medics wanted to take Johnson -- who had scratched up her face -- to the hospital, she insisted on completing the race.

But the retired physical education teacher died Monday afternoon, hours after showing off her medal to Al Roker outside the Today show at 30 Rockefeller Center.

Her daughter, Diana Boydston, told NBC Bay Area on Tuesday that her mother collapsed shortly after meeting Roker, and then died around 3:30 p.m. at Bellevue Hospital Center in New York.

“At least she got one last time,” Boydston told NBC. “That was more important to her than the marathon, showing off her medal to Al Roker."

Johnson was an experienced marathoner, dubbed a "streaker" for being one of those who compete in 15 or more straight races. Sunday's race was Johnson's 25th New York City marathon, one she finished in just under eight hours.

Johnson was part of a growing contingent of older marathoners. On Sunday, more than 12,000 runners were over 50. Many of them had been running for more than half their lives.

A 2008 article about Johnson said the former Minnesota farm girl had often trained by running 50 to 55 miles a week. At the time, she told the Wall Street Journal that she wanted "to die running. That's my goal."

joy johnson