ESPN 30 for 30 Shorts: Joy Johnson
A short film about runner Joy Johnson, who was 86 years old when she passed away the day after running her 25th consecutive New York City Marathon in 2013, makes its online debut today. The short film, Every Day, was made by Gabe Spitzer for ESPN Films’ “30 for 30 Shorts” series and was an official selection at the 2015 Sundance, SXSW, and Tribeca Film Festivals.
Johnson took up running at the age of 59 and ran her first New York City Marathon in 1988, at age 61. She became a celebrity in New York and developed a tradition of visiting Rockefeller Plaza to be interviewed by Al Roker on the Today show the day after the race each year.
Despite falling and hitting her head around mile 20 of the 2013 New York City Marathon, which she had vowed would be her last marathon, Johnson finished the race in 7:57:41. She did her traditional brief interview with Roker the following morning before going back to her hotel room to take a nap. Johnson died in her sleep that day.
Spitzer, the film’s director, told Runner’s World that work on the project began after Johnson passed away, but that her daughter, one of Johnson’s four children, was instrumental in getting the film made.
The film is also scheduled to air during “Friday Night Movie Night” in the 6 p.m. ET hour of SportsCenter on Friday, October 30. Clips from the film will also be included in ESPN2’s race day coverage of the New York City Marathon on Sunday, November 1.
Documentary on Coach Bob Larsen Screening in NYC This Weekend
City Slickers Can’t Stay With Me, a documentary about Meb Keflezighi’s longtime coach Bob Larsen, is screening from October 30 to November 5 at the AMC Empire 25 Theater in New York and at Laemmle’s Music Hall in Beverly Hills, California.
Larsen, who also coached Deena Kastor to an Olympic bronze in 2004, will be at Laemmle’s for a Q&A at the 7 p.m. screenings on November 3 and November 4.
The movie is, among other things, an advertisement for the breathtaking scenery of Mammoth Lakes, California, an altitude training base for Keflezighi, Kastor, and other elite runners.