Campus News

Thirty Years Later, "Marathon Matriarch" Joan Benoit Samuelson '79 Still Breaking Records

Story posted April 17, 2009

Saturday, April 18, 2009, marks the 30th anniversary of Joan Benoit Samuelson's record-breaking win at the 1979 Boston Marathon.

She was a senior at the College when, wearing a Bowdoin singlet and a Red Sox cap, she crossed the finish line in what was then a women's course-record of 2:35:15.

Joan Benoit 200.jpg
Joan Benoit '79 crosses the finish line, winning the 1979 Boston Marathon.

Thirty years, a world record, an Olympic gold medal and countless races later, Samuelson is still out in front.

At the age of 51, she broke the American women's 50-plus 3000-meter record at the 2009 USA Masters Indoor Track & Field Championships at Prince George's Sports and Learning Center in Landover, Md.

Benoit's event was on the opening day of the meet, which took place Friday-Sunday, March 20-22, 2009, attracting top masters athletes from across the country and around the world, including at least twelve Olympians and 58 reigning world champions.

Benoit Samuelson's time was 10:22.69, eclipsing the old record of 10:23.84 by Kathryn Martin of Northport, N.Y.

Benoit said she did it "to keep fit in my 50s and beyond, and because it's fun. It's a passion and a desire to stay fit. There is no finish line."

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