Joan Benoit Samuelson is an American marathon and long-distance runner. Samuelson is known for her record-breaking races in the Boston Marathon and for winning the first Olympic women’s marathon in the 1984 Summer Olympics. EDUinReview will now take a look at the education background of this amazing athlete.
Samuelson was born on May 16, 1957 in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. She has two brothers. She has joked that they are the reason she learned to run so that she could get a place in the car or at the dinner table. However, the real reason she began to run long distances was for therapy after she recovered from a skiing injury.
Samuelson attended Bowdoin College, a small liberal arts college. She then transferred to North Carolina State University because NCSU had a competitive running program for women in 1977. After three semesters at NCSU, Samuelson transferred back to Bowdoin because the school had developed a track and cross country program for women. She graduated from Bowdoin in 1979.
In 1979, she also began making a name for herself as a runner. She ran her first marathon in Bermuda during this year with a time of 2:54. She also ran in the Boston Marathon in 1979 and set a new record for the best time.
Samuelson had to have knee surgery 17 days before tryouts for the 1984 Summer Olympics. However, this did not deter her plans for Olympic success. She tried out for the USA team and won the first Olympic women’s marathon with a time of 2:24.52.
Samuelson retired from competitive running after several injuries and the birth of her children. She still runs a few marathons and shorter races in her spare time. She has also written several books, including Running Tide and Running for Women.