Joanie Wins Age Division at 2014 Boston Marathon (Bangor Daily News)

Boston STrong


The 118th running of the Boston Marathon was an emotional exercise on multiple fronts, as stories of strength and survival intertwined with those of sorrow and tribute.

Calling it “the race of a lifetime” for some, Joan Benoit Samuelson ’79 said the day was full of promise. The Olympian would go on to win the women’s ages 55-59 division with a time of 2:52:11. Her son,  Anders Samuelson ’12, another among many runners with ties to Bowdoin, placed 13th among all Maine runners in 2:50:01.

Joanie, as she’s known the world over, was a senior at the College when, wearing a Bowdoin singlet and a Red Sox cap, she crossed the finish line, winning the 1979 Boston Marathon, in what was then a women’s course record. In 1983, she won again, with a time of 2:22:43, shaving 2:47 off the world record. The Bangor Daily News writes of how it was an emotional day for Mainers at the Marathon.


  1. Dick Lyman says:

    I know Joan Benoit Samuelson is a world-class athlete, but she is also a world-class person. On one of those 4-day Boston-to-Bowdoin scholarship-money-raising bike rides a few years back, she (and Karen Mills) met us in Freeport for the final leg to the college. We had been biking all morning, and absolutely had to make it to the college by 2 pm, for the ceremonies at the Polar Bear statue, but our legs were getting very tired. Joan rode along with each of us for a while, and to me she commented on how strong I looked and how impressed she was. Of course my fatigue disappeared instantly, as I contemplated her remark. And then, she suggested we take Flying Point Road instead of the ill-named Pleasant Hill Road route (which involved a 3-mile climb). Flying Point was a bit longer, but definitely easier on the old men’s legs. So I have ever since looked on her with admiration and gratitude, and not just for her many achievements. Dick Lyman, ’57

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