You Are Here > > > Joan Benoit

Joan Benoit

Full name: Joan Benoit (-Samuelson)
Gender: Female
Height: 5-1.5 (157 cm)
Weight: 101 lbs (46 kg)
Born: May 16, 1957 in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, United States
Affiliations: Athletics West, Eugene (USA)
Country: USA United States
Sport: Athletics

Medals: 1 Gold (1 Total)


Benoit was the two-time Boston Marathon champion (1979, 1983) and current world record holder in the marathon (2:22:42) by the time she was preparing for the inaugural women’s Olympic marathon in 1984 in Los Angeles. But her participation in those Olympics almost didn’t happen. Just 17 days before the USA Olympic Trials in May 1984, Benoit underwent arthroscopic knee surgery and her status was suspect. With a gritty performance she won the Trials in a respectable time of 2:31:04. That determination continued on in Los Angeles, where the marathon started out slowly in the high August heat and humidity of Southern California, and by 25km Benoit had almost a two-minute lead. With no last minute challenges, Benoit ran the rest of the race relaxed and entered the Los Angeles Coliseum 400m ahead of Norway’s [Grete Waitz]. Knowing her life would change forever, this quiet, shy American captured Olympic glory on American soil in a time of 2:24:52.

After retiring from competitive running, Benoit has written books, opened a running clinic, coached, done motivational speaking, worked as a sports commentator and started a road race (Beach to Beacon 10K Road Race) which attracts world class runners. She has also continued to still run including such prestigious marathons as New York City and Chicago, setting age group records along the way. In 2009, she broke the 50+ division record with a final time of 2:49:09 in the New York City Marathon. In October 2010, she ran the Chicago Marathon in 2:47:50 finishing 43rd - the site of her American record 25 years earlier—missing her goal of qualifying for an eighth Olympic Marathon Team Trials race by 1:50, but recording the fastest-ever performance by a woman over the age of 52. In April 2011, Benoit competed in the Boston Marathon, completing the course in 2:51:29 and placing 1st in her age group.

Personal Best: Mar – 2-21:21 (1985).


Games Age City Sport Event Team NOC Rank Medal
1984 Summer 27 Los Angeles Athletics Women's Marathon United States USA 1 Gold OR

Women's Marathon

Games Age City Sport Country Phase Unit Rank T
1984 Summer 27 Los Angeles Athletics United States Final Standings 1 OR 2-24:52
id: 77,757