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Samuelson Tops List Of U.S. Female Marathoners

  • By Duncan Larkin
  • Published Jan. 20, 2012
  • Updated Jan. 20, 2012 at 10:48 AM UTC
Joan Benoit Samuelson is arguably the best female American marathoner of all time. Photo: Los Angles Times

Deena Kastor is ranked second.

Joan Benoit Samuelson is arguably the best female American marathoner of all time. Photo: Los Angles Times

Last week, before the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, the Chicago Tribune’s Phil Hersh compiled a list of the top ten male and female American marathoners.

Hersh listed 1972 Olympic gold medalist Frank Shorter as the number one American male. On the female side, he listed 1984 Olympic gold medalist Joan Benoit Samuelson as the best.

His rationale for the selection was based on the fact that Samuelson won the first women’s Olympic marathon–an event that turned her into a “running immortal”.

“Seventeen days after arthroscopic knee surgery, Benoit won the Olympic trials,” Hersh writes. “Three months later, she audaciously took off on her own after three miles of the inaugural Olympic women’s marathon and went on to win in a time [2:24:52] only three women have bettered in the Olympics [all in 2000].”

In the number two slot, Hersh listed 2004 Olympic bronze medalist and American-record holder, Deena Kastor, who is the only U.S. woman to dip under two hours and twenty minutes for the marathon.

For More: Chicago Tribune

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Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin is the news editor at Competitor.com and a freelance journalist who’s been covering the sport of running for over five years. He’s run 2:32 in the marathon and won the Himalayan 100-Mile Stage Race in 2007. His first running book, RUN SIMPLE, was released last July.

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