Friday, October 8, 2010

Joanie speaks to the media in Chicago...

CHICAGO--Twenty five years after setting an American record in the marathon, Joan Benoit Samuelson (left/photo by Paul Merca) is back here to run in Sunday's Bank of America Chicago Marathon.

“The sport of marathon running does not have bigger legends than Joan Benoit Samuelson and Steve Jones,” said Bank of America Chicago Marathon Executive Race Director Carey Pinkowski in a press release. “These two athletes set the bar for world class performances at the Chicago Marathon 25 years ago, and they ushered the sport of distance running into a new era. We’re proud that they are returning to Chicago to add another exciting storyline to this year’s race.”

When American Joan Benoit Samuelson crossed the finish line of the 1984 Olympic Games Marathon in Los Angeles, she became the event’s first-ever female gold medalist, and as a result, a national hero. Benoit Samuelson brought her hero status to Chicago in 1985 to face one of the deepest women’s fields ever assembled, including world record holder Ingrid Kristiansen of Norway and Olympic bronze medalist and defending Chicago Marathon champion Rosa Mota of Portugal.

Benoit Samuelson won in 2:21:21 to establish a new course and American record, while missing the world record by just 13 seconds. Benoit Samuelson’s American record stood until 2003.

“It’s a true gift to return to the Bank of America Chicago Marathon after posting my fastest time ever in the same marathon 25 years ago,” said Benoit Samuelson. “I never thought that I would still be competing 25 years later and challenging myself with new goals. After the Olympic Trials in Boston in 2008, I said that I was finished with competitive marathon running, but the Bank of America Chicago Marathon on 10-10-10 is too great of an opportunity to pass up. My goal is to run as fast as I can for as long as I can and to challenge my best time over the age of 50.”

Benoit Samuelson’s time of 2:49:08 at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon made her the first America woman over the age of 50 to run sub 2:50. Last fall, she ran 2:49:09 at the New York City Marathon. If Benoit Samuelson manages to run under the 2:46:00 U.S. Olympic Trials standard, she would qualify to compete in a record fifth U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon. She has previously competed in the 1984, 1996, 2000 and 2008 Trials races.

Benoit Samuelson spoke to members of the media in advance of Sunday's race at the Chicago Hilton, with the BBC's Tim Hutchings moderating.

NOTE: Special thanks to Nike Media Relations for their hospitality in order to cover the Bank of America Chicago Marathon.

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