The National Osteoporosis Foundation’s Be Bone Strong Team Update

The NOF was very sorry to learn that the  2020 TCS New York City Marathon was cancelled. We are, however, completely in support of the decision to do so in order to protect the health and safety of the runners and community.

Earlier in the year, the NOF recruited  a group of inspired, dedicated women over the age of 50 to join its Be Bone Strong team. The team is committed to showcasing the critical importance of bone health in active aging. These devoted runners will continue to raise awareness and encourage others to prevent osteoporosis and broken bones by taking steps to promote strong bones for life. This is a cause near and dear to their hearts.

In the U.S., more than 2 million broken bones are caused by osteoporosis annually. Studies show that half of all women over the age of 50 (and 1 in 4 men) will break a bone due to osteoporosis in their lifetime. Our Be Bone Strong team will work to raise much-needed funds to help NOF improve patient care, support those who have broken bones due to osteoporosis and educate the public about this chronic but preventable disease.

Barbara Hannah Grufferman



As the Be Bone Strong Team Captain, Barbara Hannah Grufferman, 63, a nationally recognized advocate for positive living and an avid marathoner, will provide guidance and support the team. Ms. Grufferman is also a NOF Trustee and Bone Health Ambassador.

Karen Goodell

Karen Goodell, 59, is the mother of three strong, young women (two of whom are also running in the 2020 NYC Marathon!) and a busy residential realtor. Karen enjoys lots of physical activities and joined the Be Bone Strong team to run in the 2020 TCS New York City Marathon (her second) to celebrate her 60th birthday (September 2020). In addition, she is committed to serving as a strong example of how physical fitness can help us all age better, while raising awareness of the importance of bone health for life. Karen, who lives in New York City with her husband of more than 30 years, plans to do most of her training running along the hilly running paths of Central Park!

Gail Woodham

Gail Woodham, 67, has been a runner her whole life, but didn’t begin long distance running until she was 52. She now completed eight full marathons and 10+ half marathons to date! She’s experienced the thrill of crossing the finish line in New York five times already and can’t wait to do it again in November. Gail knows that many women her age are not aware of the importance of getting a bone density test and need to make bone health a priority to stay independent and active. She’s happy to be an example of staying active while aging and encouraging others to do the same.

Mary Van der Loo

Mary Van der Loo, 57, is the mother of two sons — both college students and runners — and has been a flight attendant for 35 years and a volunteer ski patroller for 11 years. She has been an active runner since her late 40s; running mostly 5ks, a couple of half marathons and ran her first full marathon last year. Mary is an advocate for healthy aging and maintains a lifestyle that includes a whole food, plant-based diet. She is passionate in her quest for promoting active aging, is committed to supporting the National Osteoporosis Foundation and is excited about being part of the Be Bone Strong team. Mary lives in the Philadelphia area with her husband of 25 years.

Toni LaSpina

Toni LaSpina, 65, is the mother of three daughters and grandmother of five. She is a retired NYC teacher and started running about 10 years ago. This will be her 4th NYC Marathon. Toni suffers from arthritis in both knees. Keeping fit and healthy through running, boxing, spin class and weight training has made a huge difference in her health. She lives with her husband of 47+ years in Brooklyn, N.Y. She wants to show her family that an active life is a happy and healthy life.

Chris Marhula

Chris Marhula, 64, lives in New York City and has been running for over 40 years. Chris works as an administrator for a renowned lab at Rockefeller University, a bio-medical research institution. In 2018 at age 62, she joyfully completed her first marathon as a proud member of the NOF NYC Marathon Team. Chris is thrilled to not only be running her second NYC marathon, but to be doing it once again as a member of the NOF ‘Be Bone Strong’ team. She wants to help raise awareness of the dangers of osteoporosis, a bone disease her beloved dad was diagnosed with. Chris can vouch for the benefits of running and improved bone health. During her initial training for the 2018 marathon she experienced some pain in her right hip after running longer distances. However, as she continued her training, the pain decreased significantly to almost zero. While not a medical opinion she believes that the increased bone fitness was a factor in her hip pain improvement. Chris will be dedicating this marathon experience to both her dad and mom.

Tina Walter

Tina Walter, 55, lives in the Bronx, NY. Tina has been an avid walker for many years and started running two years ago. She is currently training to run her first marathon in the 2020 TSC New York City Marathon, which is the 50th anniversary of this iconic race. Other than walking, Tina acknowledges that she never really thought much about fitness — much less bone health. She wants to raise awareness about the importance of good bone health because she wants more people to know their risks and what they can do to prevent what could be a critical problem.