Athlete Profile: Joan Benoit Samuelson

September 22, 2014

Looking for some motivation for your next big race? What better way to get inspired than with the story of marathon legend Joan Benoit Samuelson. Winner of the 1984 Summer Olympic Women's Marathon, Joan's story of professional running success will have you determined on going above and beyond your goals.

After breaking a leg skiing as a teenager, Benoit began running to get back into shape and discovered that she liked it. While a senior at Bowdoin College in Maine, she entered the 1979 Boston Marathon as a virtual unknown and set an American women’s record of 2:35:15. Benoit underwent surgery on both Achilles tendons in 1981 but returned to top form in 1983, when she again won the Boston Marathon, setting a world record of 2:22:43.

 

She also set American records that year in the 10-kilometer, half-marathon, 10-mile and 25-kilometer runs. Grete Waitz of Norway, who had won all seven marathons she’d entered and had beaten Benoit in 10 of 11 races, was favored to win the gold medal in the first Olympic women’s marathon in 1984. However, Benoit took the lead just 3 miles into the race and never gave it up. She led Waitz by nearly a minute at the 15-kilometer mark and by nearly two minutes at the 25-kilometer mark. She recalled, “As I neared the stadium, I heard the unexpected crowd rise to its feet, cheering the approaching runners. I told myself, ‘Just focus on trying to stay upright and keep one foot in front of the other.” While in the tunnel, she vowed to give back to a sport and a state that had given her so much before running into the light of the L.A. Coliseum and the electrifying welcome of the many thousands that were there to greet the inaugural winner of the Women’s Olympic Marathon.

Benoit won the Jesse Owens Award that same year and went on to win the Sullivan Award as the outstanding U. S. amateur athlete of 1985, when she set an American record of 2:21:21 in the Chicago Marathon. She also won major 12-kilometer and 7-mile races that year. 

Joan is now 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).

 

(Source: http://www.joanbenoitsamuelson.com/)




Also in Blog

How To Survive The Heat and Humidity
How To Survive The Heat and Humidity

September 01, 2019

Our bodies regulate heat through perspiration or sweat. But when the body sweats, it also removes dissolved minerals in those fluids as well, leading to a serious condition we know as dehydration. This dehydration will impact performance.

Read More

"MyPlate" for Athletes: How Much Food Do I Need to Eat?

August 21, 2019

Remember the “Food Pyramid”? It was the triangular guide from the USDA with levels or sections of food groups and suggested amounts of daily servings for each. For 19 years, health practitioners, teachers, parents and others used this as a guide to teach and ensure healthy eating. Even athletes were known to follow these guidelines.

Read More

The Impact Of Dehydration On Performance
The Impact Of Dehydration On Performance

March 12, 2019

Dehydration Results In Lower Blood Pressure And Slows Bodily Processes. Active individuals should be aware of the acute effects of dehydration on performance. With just a 2% loss of water in the body, heat regulation becomes impacted. With a 3% drop in body weight from water loss, muscle cell contraction is impacted. And at 4% loss, there is 5-10% reduction in overall performance that can last up to 4 hours.

Read More