Miki Gorman, marathon runner, died at 80

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Miki (“Michiko”) Suwa Gorman, born 1935 in China, and died on September 19, 2015, Miki was one of America’s foremost women’s marathoners during the mid-1970s.

Miki is the only woman to win both the Boston and New York City marathons twice, and one of only two woman runners to win both marathons in the same year.

Miki , who grew up in Japan’s Fukushima prefecture during the post-war years, moved to the United States in 1964.

Shortly after she moved she married Michael Gorman. At 5’0½” tall and 86 pounds, she took up running while in her early 30s to gain weight.

In 1970, as her first event, Miki ran an indoor 100 mile run in 21:04:00 in Los Angeles, California.

Miki set an unofficial world’s best for the women’s marathon of 2:46:36 at the Western Hemisphere Marathon (now the Culver City Marathon) on December 3, 1973, just four years after she started to run. Four months later, in April 1974, she won the Boston Marathon in a course record of 2:47:11. Miki would also place second at Boston in 1976, and won Boston again in 1977.

Miki also won the New York City Marathon twice, in 1976 and 1977, at the age of 41 and 42 respectively. She is currently the last American woman to win the New York City Marathon.

She set a personal best during her 1976 victory with a time of 2:39:11, then the second fastest women’s marathon in history and just a minute off the world record.

In 1979, the Supersisters trading card set was produced and distributed; one of the cards featured Miki’s name and picture.

In 1981, a film called “Ritoru Champion” (known on video in America as My Champion), starring Chris Mitchum and documenting the events of Miki’s life, was released.

Frequently injured in subsequent years, Miki competed sporadically through the years 1978 to 1981.

She did, however, manage to set a women’s world record in the half-marathon in 1978.

Miki decided to retire from competitive running in 1982. Miki now lives in Bellingham, Washington, United States.

Miki has been inducted into both the Road Runners Club of America Hall of Fame and the USATF Masters Hall of Fame, as well as the National Distance Running Hall of Fame.

 

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