12 Apr 2011

Benoit Samuelson enters Boston Marathon

5:23 pm on 12 April 2011

Legendary US marathon runner Joan Benoit Samuelson has entered next week's Boston Marathon for the first time since 1993, in a possible bid to qualify for the 2012 US Olympic Trials.

Samuelson inspired a generation of runners by winning the first Olympic women's marathon, in Los Angeles in 1984, against a star-studded field.

One month short of her 54th birthday she is still an elite performer and will be shooting for a time of two hours forty six minutes or less to punch her ticket to the trials, scheduled to be run in Houston in January.

If she qualifies it would be Samuelson's fifth Olympic trials race, after she swore that the 2008 trials, at age 50, would be her last.

Samuelson's 23-year-old daughter Abby will run the race as well.

Samuelson won her first of two Boston Marathons in 1979, when she was a 21-year-old student at Bowdoin College in her home state of Maine.

She set a world record in winning Boston again in 1983 in 2:22:43, a time that is still the fourth fastest in the race's history. Last year's winner, Teyba Erkesso of Ethiopia, was more than three minutes slower.

Samuelson is one of only four Boston Marathon champions of either gender who have also won gold in the Olympic marathon.