On Friday evening I had the pleasure and honor of meeting a running legend. Joan Benoit Samuelson was the woman who won the first Olympic Marathon in 1984!
She was a pioneer of the sport and of sports for women in general. She has won the Boston Marathon, the Chicago Marathon… so many races I’m sure even she doesn’t keep count!
She talked for a while about her story which was so wonderful to listen to. She’s just a girl who grew up and loved to play sports! She wasn’t afraid to try! I am just humbled to have had this opportunity.
Joan is a soft spoken woman with a large heart. You could feel her passion as she spoke of those memories of running alone into the colosseum to win the gold medal. She spoke of running Boston the year after the bombings with her children and the happiness she felt when she realized her son had actually beaten her!
A runner never gives up on their goals. She may have aged. She may not run as fast as she used to, but she still runs most every day. Now she listens more to her body, but that doesn’t means she doesn’t train.
She’s training now for another stab at Boston. No, she might not win it, and she’s OK with that. Hers are now personal goals. She has goals for other races, including a sub-three hour marathon once she turns 60!
As someone who didn’t start running until she was older, I am inspired when I see runners like Joan keep pushing themselves. They stay active, they are only happy on days they run! I totally get that!
Life has challenges. We all have challenges. But seeing those challenges and pushing beyond them is what makes us stronger.
I will keep this autograph posted in my office for many years to come. Joan and runners like her make me want to keep going! I may be an older runner, and I’m not the fastest, but I can run. I’ll keep running through my challenges.
Just me and the legend…,
Yeah, I’m a fangirl. No biggie.