Joan Benoit-Samuelson defies age by running 2:47 in Chicago
More than a quarter of a century since her victory at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Marathon, 53-year-old Joan Benoit-Samuelson is still going strong. She finished 43rd in the woman’s race at the Chicago Marathon finishing in 2:47:50. Her 23-year-old daughter, Abby made her marathon debut at Chicago 2010 while her mother had other numbers in mind.
Joan was attracted to Chicago “because of the symmetry of numbers”. Sunday’s date is 10-10-10. The race was the 25th anniversary of the American record that she set there in 1985 with a personal best of 2:21:21 – a mark that stood until 2003.
Joan is the first female and only 19th runner to run sub 3 hour marathon in five different decades.
- April 16, 1979 – Boston Marathon – 2:35:16
- October 20, 1985 – Chicago Marathon – 2:21:21
- April 15, 1991 – Boston Marathon – 2:26:54
- February 26, 2000 – Columbia Marathon/ Us Olympic Trails - 2:39:59
- October 10, 2010 – Chicago Marathon – 2:47:50
Her time in Chicago was 1:50 off the qualifying time. A time below 2 hours 46 minutes would qualify her for the United States Olympic trials for a record fifth time in 2012.
Joan Benoit is an example that age doesn’t mean you have to slow down.