Saturday, October 20, 2007

Joan Benoit Samuelson speaks to the media at Nike Women's Marathon...

SAN FRANCISCO—Joan Benoit Samuelson, the winner of the first women’s marathon at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, spoke to members of the media Friday in conjunction with Sunday’s Nike Women’s Marathon through the streets of San Francisco.

Samuelson, who is qualified to run in April’s USA Olympic Marathon Trials in Boston was pleased that some 20000 women are entered to run Sunday’s marathon, and accompanying half-marathon, making this event the largest women’s only run in the world.

The fact that there are 20000-plus participants here in San Francisco speaks volumes to one of the messages she conveyed—that running is an accessible sport that gives individuals the ability to cut loose and air it out.

However, the battle is still not over. Benoit Samuelson, citing this country’s high obesity rate, said, “we need to get more people out there running.”

When asked to recollect cyclist Lance Armstrong’s attempt to run the New York Marathon last year, where he barely finished under the three-hour mark (she served as one of Armstrong’s pacers, along with retired middle distance runner Hicham El Guerrouj, and marathon great Alberto Salazar), she told the seven-time Tour de France winner to quit worrying about mile markers, and instead to concentrate on the people in front of them.

Shortly after the 25-mile mark, Benoit Samuelson moved in front of the tiring Armstrong and told him to stay with her for the remainder of the race.

She says that the US Olympic Marathon Trials in Boston next April will be her last competitive marathon, even though she is not a big fan of the criterium-type course.

At another event Saturday morning at Tiffany & Company, Benoit Samuelson helped unveil the finishers’ necklace, as well as the keychain for the 3000+ runners participating in the Nike+ virtual half-marathon tomorrow.

The finisher's necklace for Sunday's Nike Women's Marathon in San Francisco is in the center, while the keychain for the Nike+ half marathon is on the left. /photo by Paul Merca

1 comment:

Database Diva said...

I ran the Nike+ virtual half marathon in Seattle this morning. I was a little surprised when I got to Road Runner Sports and found that most of the participants were men.

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