Joy’s Story: Living and Dying With Passion

A runner at the New York City Marathon

Running the NYC Marathon
Courtesy of Flickr

I hope you have something that you are passionate about.

I don’t care if its rock climbing, bargain hunting, movie watching, or solitaire playing.  Having a passion makes life more meaningful.

Joy Johnson’s passion was running. You’ve heard of her –right?

She is the 86-year-old woman who completed the NYC marathon this past week and died the next day.

Her 83-year-old sister noted that Joy fell and hit her head around the 20th mile. However, Joy insisted on continuing the race, and she managed to complete the marathon. It was her 25th New York City marathon.

The next day she was interviewed by Al Roker (apparently, he had interviewed her in the past as well) of the ‘Today’ Show.  After the interview with Roker, Joy “returned to the Roosevelt Hotel in Midtown, Johnson said she was tired and went to rest. She never woke up again.  She died from complications of hitting her head and the blood-thinning medication she took for a minor heart flutter.”

Joy had told the New York Daily News before the race, “I always say I’m going to run until I drop. I’m going to die in my tennis shoes. I just don’t know when I’m going to quit.”

I look at this story as a happy one.

No, I am not macabre. Let me explain.

Joy is a runner. That is what she loved to do.  While she had not even take up the sport until she retired nearly 25 years ago, it had clearly become her passion.

Therefore, she went out on her terms doing what she loved. She is a runner and on her last full day of life she completed one of the most famous marathons.  It was something she had trained for and looked forward to. She was in her element.

That’s awesome.

Seriously, does anyone dream of dying at a ripe old age incapacitated either physically or mentally? I don’t think so.

I look at Joy as an inspiration, an every-day hero.

You may think it is easy for me to say this. After all, I did not know Joy and don’t feel any real sadness over her loss. True. However, even her daughter Diana Boydston said, “At least she was running, the way she wanted to go.”

There are lessons we can learn from Joy.

It is never too late to find your passion. Once you find your passion, enjoy it to the max. Do what you love, and you will live a happy fulfilling life.

I hope you have or will find your passion. Once you do, make the most of your passion and appreciate every minute you are able to engage in it.

Thanks for showing us the way Joy.
information and quotes were taken from the New York Daily News:

20 thoughts on “Joy’s Story: Living and Dying With Passion

  1. I think it’s inspirational as well. There are things that I am that passionate about but I don’t really pursue them. I watch them from afar and fantasize but I’ve never had the courage to really do it myself.

  2. This is the first I’ve heard about this story but it was pretty cool. She truly lived life to the fullest and passed away doing what she loved best. Thanks for sharing that one!

  3. I agree that it’s a wonderful story! I hate that she passed, but how wonderful that she died on her own terms, most likely with those running shoes right next to her, and peacefully. I’ve recently started running and while it isn’t my passion yet, I sure hope that it will be! Until that time, I’ll just continue my quest to find my passion and try lots of new things along the way! (PS, the “like” button hasn’t worked for me that last couple of times… don’t know if it’s an error on my end or not, but I do “like” the posts!)

    • Thanks for letting me know Kate. I really wish I was more technically literate. It would be nice if I could solve these issues.
      Good luck finding your passion. Enjoy the ride trying to find it.

  4. I agree with you – I would rather live life to the fullest, enjoying what I am doing until the very end. I fear sliding into a slow decline as I saw my father do, it is awful for everyone involved. So I find Joy’s story to be an inspirational one, not one of sadness.

    A good post…

  5. Hi,
    I didn’t know Joy, but I love the courage and tenacity that she showed by living her own life up until the time she died. People like this encourage me tremendously. I think many of us think that life here on earth is eternal, but it is not, or we tend to put things off saying we’ll do them later until it is too late to do them.

    Joy lived her life fully and that gives me hope. Living a fulfilled life and dying while living it is much more important than just living to live.


    • So good to hear from you – it’s been too long!
      Anyway, I am 100% with you in regards to Joy. We need stories and examples to remind us to live our lives to the fullest.

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