Joan Benoit Samuelson, 53, Impressive In Boston Marathon Return
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“I did it on a wing and a prayer, wasted a lot of energy in the last couple of days wondering if I was gonna get to the starting line, and I decided with the forecast and the tail wind, that I’d regret not at least trying. I’ve never dropped out of a race, that was on my mind,” said Samuelson.
The 53-year-old Maine native managed to break the three-hour mark, which was a goal of hers going into the race.
WBZ-TV’s Steve Burton spoke to Samuelson at the finish line:
“As of Friday, all I was hoping to do was finish, and I wanted to break three hours. It would have been really nice to break 2:50, but I’m really happy to have finished here 18 years later,” said Samuelson. “I got up over the hill, and then got down into Cleveland Circle, and from that point on, I just said ‘please keep it under three hours.’”
Samuelson was running with her daughter, Abby, who was running in her first Boston Marathon. Abby finished at 3:30:36.
“It was hard, trying to get my bearings the first 10k, and then I started to feel that I had nothing left in the end,” said Samuelson.
Samuelson won the 1979 Boston Marathon in an American Record time of 2:35:15, and she established a world record at the 1983 Boston Marathon in 2:22:43. Her performance from 1983 remains the fourth fastest time in Boston Marathon history.
“Boston is special race for me,” Samuelson said before the race. “The crowds know and appreciate the athletes competing and their accomplishments, and they never disappoint with their encouragement and enthusiasm. I look forward to experiencing their energy and excitement on Patriots’ Day.”
When she won in 1979, Samuelson was 21-year-old student Joan Benoit from Bowdoin College. She went on to win the inaugural gold medal in the women’s Olympic Marathon at the 1984 Los Angeles Games. Over time and following her Olympic victory, she became an icon of the sport and one of its most recognizable names.
Samuelson is one of only four Boston Marathon champions to have also won gold in the Olympic Marathon. Gelindo Bordin, of Italy; Rosa Mota, of Portugal; and Fatuma Roba, of Ethiopia, are the others.