on august 5, 1984, joan benoit samuelson won the first women's olympic marathon at the los angeles games. her 2:24:52 was the third fastest woman's marathon finish at the time! benoit was a two time winner of the boston marathon, setting a course record in 1983. perhaps most remarkable of all, 17 days before the olympic trials earlier that year she had arthroscopic surgery on her knee and recovered in time to run the trials and make the team!
since her retirement from competitive running (which included numerous distances below the marathon), benoit has written books, coached, and founded the beach to beacon 10k road race in cape elizabeth, maine. she also competed in the 2008 olympic trials, at the age of 50! benoit's 2:49:08 finish set a new american record for f50-54.
update: to celebrate the 25th anniversary of her olympic gold medal, joan benoit samuelson just announced that she will run in the 40th nyc marathon!!