Elle Foley Completes World's Six Major Marathons

David Creed •

Elle Foley
Elle Foley, a 66 year old seasonal island resident, completed the 2024 Tokyo Marathon earlier this month and has now finished each of the world's six major marathons. Photo courtesy of Elle Foley.

Odds are if you have ever joined the Monument Running Group over the summer for one of their runs in the sun, Elle Foley may have been right there next to you. The 66-year-old seasonal island resident is an avid runner and earlier this month, accomplished the astounding feat of completing all six of the world’s major marathons.

The marathons include Boston, New York, Chicago, Berlin, London, and Tokyo. On March 3, Foley ran the Tokyo Marathon, which was established in 2007. It was the last of the six Foley needed to run.

“I chose to go around the world and do other things because I was getting a little bored with New York and Boston all the time,” Foley said. “(Tokyo) hadn’t had it in a couple years and then with COVID you couldn’t get in. I finally got in on a lottery. I am doing Boston in a couple of weeks so it is a lot but I’m like if you get in (to the Tokyo Marathon), you got to do it.”

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Foley generally runs the Boston and New York Marathons every year. She has run the Boston Marathon 20 times and will make it 21 when she races next month. As for New York, Foley says it has been about 18 times. She has run a total of 67 marathons.

“The others like Chicago, Berlin, London – those are more like one and done,” Foley said. “I will throw in a couple other things throughout the year. I am in Florida over the winter so I will throw in Miami and Fort Lauderdale, something like that.”

Foley was also the last woman to win the Nantucket Marathon, which ended in March of 2000. She said to this day, it remains one of her favorite titles.

Foley said her love for running dates back to her high school track days. She says of all the major marathons she has run, one stands alone as her favorite.

“Boston is my best. I never broke three hours but ran 3:03 in 1994,” Foley said. “And I would say it is my favorite just because of the history and tradition. The crowds in Boston and New York can’t be beat I mean, it’s insane. It is like the best day ever in both cities.”

As for what keeps Foley young and able to continue running at this level, she says the key for her has been doing yoga – which she began in the 1980s.

“When I was in New York City with the New York Road Runners and started doing yoga and had a trach coach I started doing a lot more stretching with the long runs and I think that is what has kept me in shape,” Foley said. “I teach yoga. I do yoga and stretch every day. I think that’s key to some of my success.”

She said she is very grateful for all the men and women in the Monument Running Group, which continues to support her and is filled with many talented runners that have accomplished their own feats from Iron Man challenges to triathlons to marathon and half marathon finishes of their own. (This group runs year-round and if you'd like to join, you can get updates on where their runs will be on Facebook).

As for when Foley will retire from running marathons, she said she has at least a few more in her.

“I thought I would do 50 at 50 or 60 at 60 but now, you know, I may go a few more,” Foley said. “I got 67 and Boston will be 68. I am already signed up for New York which will be my 69th. Then I have to get to 70, right?"

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