70-year-old marathoner inspires
ATLANTA (FOX 5 Atlanta) - At 70, Sue Landa may just be the happiest marathoner you've ever met.
So, how did this LaGrange native, who didn't own a real pair of running shoes until she was 63, end up in the Boston Marathon?
"I blame it all on my husband," Landa laughs.
It all got started back in the summer of 2011. Scott Landa had been reading a magazine, and he came across an ad about the Disney Princess Marathon. He knew Sue had this thing about princesses.
"He said there is this a little race down in Disney called the Disney Half Marathon," Sue Landa says. "He said you and your girlfriends call yourself princesses; You need to run this. And I went, 'Okay!' I pumped up my girlfriends to do this, my 3 girlfriends, and my 2 daughters."
The only problem? Sue had no idea how to run. So, she bought some sneakers and started walking near her home.
"I actually would go out of my house with a headlight on, in the dark, so no one would see me doing this," She says. "Because, I was like, you know, here's this old lady out here."
But, soon, she grew braver.
She started interval training, following a book she found by runner Jeff Galloway.
"I'm getting a little better, feeling a little better, my breathing," she says.
But, by December, just Sue was hitting her stride, Scott went to the doctor, for a long-overdue checkup.
That's when they found a problem, with his blood.
"I had a type of leukemia that I didn't even know about," Scott Landa says.
The diagnosis stunned the couple, who had been married for 45 years at the time.
"You kind of take a deep breath," Sue Landa says. "Because it's an unknown, it's a mystery out there."
Scott Landa would spend most of 2012 undergoing chemotherapy before his cancer went into remission. He encouraged Sue to keep training. That first race, 13.1 miles, was tough.
"But, I finished, I crossed the finish line, and you can be sure my hands were up," Landa says. " I'm, like, "Woo hoo! I did this! Look at me! I'm a runner now! Then, I could call myself a runner!"
At 63, Sue thought she was too old for marathons. But, one thing led to another.
"I have done 6 marathons, and now I'm going for my seventh marathon."
Running has become a Landa family affair, with their daughters joining Sue on longer races.
She's competed in 42 half marathons, and, with Scott, more 5Ks and 10Ks than Landa can count. Between raises, Landa and her husband train with the Atlanta Track Club, where they call her "Silver Sue."
"I really love the camaraderie of the people I run with," she says. "So, that really has made it for me."
For the Disney races, the Landas wear costumes, all handmade by Sue.
They've been Mickie and Minnie, countless princesses and their Prince Charming.
"I've been Darth Vader, and I've been Chewbacca," Scott Landa says.
The Nemo costume was a little complicated.
"This leotard, and it was orange and black," Sue Landa says. "It was really tight! And then I made fins to go here, and fins to go down here. It was just a lot to run in."
Seven years in, Sue Landa is still going strong.
She's now beginning her training for the New York City Marathon in November.
Early next year, she's signed up for a marathon in Hawaii.
"My goal this year, I said, is I'm celebrating 70, the entire year."
Running, Sue Landa says, has opened up her world.
"It just makes me happy,"