Ninth Class (2012)
Joan Benoit Samuelson
An Olympic gold medalist, record setter and female pioneer in the sport, Joan Benoit Samuelson won the gold medal in the marathon for the U.S. at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, the inaugural year of the event for women. She went on to a long and successful career as a top marathoner, with marks at the Chicago Marathon and in the Olympic Marathon that have yet to be bested by a U.S. woman. Her Boston course record held for 28 years.
As a race director (she founded the Beach to Beacon 10K in her hometown), advocate for the sport (she has written two books about running), and inspiration to the generations of female runners that have followed in her trailblazing footsteps, Benoit Samuelson is unsurpassed and a true running legend. She and her family live in Freeport, Maine. Benoit Samuelson continues to compete as a top age group athlete.