Former Olympic gold medalist and world record holder still going strong at age 53.
In 1984, at the age of 27, Joan Benoit Samuelson won the first women’s Olympic Marathon in Los Angeles, running 2 hours, 24 minutes and 52 seconds to trump the field by over a minute. A year later in Chicago, she set the world record of 2:21:21, a mark that stood for 18 years.
Today, at the age of 53, Samuelson is still going strong and still beating women more than half her age. On October 10, Samuelson will compete at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon and attempt to run under 2:46:00 in an effort to qualify for the 2012 Olympic Trials Marathon.
“I guess my passion for the sport is still there,” Samuelson told USA Today. “I didn’t say after the trials what constituted competitive. So I left myself an out. I’ve been a part of the sport for so long. It’s such a great challenge coming back to Chicago, especially after watching how much the sport has grown. I think in 1985 there were about 6,000 runners. This year it’s over 45,000. I guess I’d have to say other runners just keep me inspired.”
For More: USA Today