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AAPI Heritage Month: How Marathon Runner Miki Gorman Broke Records And Barriers

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- As we celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, CBS2's Cindy Hsu shares the story of a champion marathon runner who broke records and barriers.

Running one marathon is hard enough, but imagine winning two New York City marathons and two Boston marathons. Miki Gorman is the only woman who has achieved that.

Gorman grew up in Japan before coming to the United States in 1964. She didn't start running until her 30s, when her husband encouraged her to workout.

"My dad wanted her to get into the gym, get a little bit more active," her daughter, Daneille Mika Nagel told Hsu.

In 1976, at 41 years old, Gorman won the New York City Marathon, then came on top again the next year.

"Many people ask me how I can run because I'm so small and look fragile, but for long distance, you don't have to have the big body," she told a reporter at the time.

Hsu spoke with New York Road Runners Chairman of the Broad George Hirsch, who ran with Gorman.

"Just a dominant force in running, though, I mean the best in the world," he said.

Hirsch last saw in her 2012 when she was inducted into the New York Road Runners Hall of Fame.

As an Asian American woman in a sport that was overwhelming white and male, she broke down barriers in so many ways.

"I'm sure that she was faced with a lot of discrimination," said Nagel. "She wouldn't hold onto that. I think she used that as more drive and motivation to succeed."

Her success inspired so many. In her hometown in Japan, the Gorman Cup 10K is run in her honor. She also has her own children's book and even a trading card.

Gorman passed away in 2015 at 80 years old.

"I wish my mom was alive right now to experience this movement and the conversation that's being elevated," Nagel said.

One that focuses on equality and lifting everyone up.

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