|Joan Benoit Samuelson’s name is synonymous with women’s running. She began running track in high school in the town of Cape Elizabeth, Maine. Samuelson continued on to Bowdoin College, where her career soared. She received All-American honors in cross-country and track, and won the Boston Marathon in 1979, setting an American and course record, all before she graduated. Samuelson won the Boston Marathon again in 1983, this time breaking the world record. One year later, at the age of 27, she won the gold medal in the first women’s marathon at the Los Angeles Olympics. In 1985, Samuelson won the Chicago Marathon with an American record time of 2:21:21.
Currently, she is a consultant to Nike, Inc. and a clinician, conducting numerous running, health, and fitness clinics throughout the United States and the world. Samuelson is also an experienced motivational speaker, giving regular addresses to corporations, civic groups, schools, and athletes. She has authored two books, her autobiography Running Tide (Knopf, 1987), and Joan Samuelson’s Running for Women (Rodale Press, 1995).
|In 1998 Samuelson founded the TD Bank 10K as a way to give back to the sport which has given her so much. The race motto started as “Shine the Light on Kids,” and benefits a different children’s charity each year. More than a decade later the race annually attracts over 6,000 runners, including some of the world’s most elite as well as first time competitors. Over 10,000 spectators attend every year making it one of hottest summer tickets in New England.
In April of 2008, Samuelson participated in the Olympic Marathon Trials in Boston and met her goal of running a sub 2:50 at age 50! In 2009 she ran in the 40th NYC Marathon which coincided with the 25th anniversary of her Olympic win, where she ran another sub 2:50. She set the goal as a way to support her belief in life-long fitness. Later that same year, Joanie was inducted into the Olympic Hall of Fame. Joan Benoit Samuelson (or ”Joanie” as she’s known to many) is married with two children, Abby and Anders. She is a devoted wife and mother who has always been able to maintain her commitment to the sport.
The Early Years