Benoit sets 3K mark at masters indoor track

Posted March 22, 2009, at 10:07 p.m.

LANDOVER, Md. — Freeport’s Joan Benoit Samuelson set an American record in the women’s 50-and-over 3,000-meter run during the first day of competition at the 2009 USA Masters Indoor Track & Field Championships.

Despite not having raced on an indoor track since setting the women’s 45-and-over 3,000-meter record in 2003, Samuelson cruised to an easy victory in the 50-and-over race in a time of 10 minutes, 22.69 seconds.

“After the Olympic Trials I said I wouldn’t do any more competitive marathons,” said Samuelson. “So I set my sights on other shorter distances like the mile. I want to see what I can get my mile down to so I think a 3K is a good place to start. I think I can get pretty close to 5 [minutes].

Her winning time broke the previous age-group record for the event of 10:23.84 set in 2004 by Kathryn Martin of Northport, N.Y. Martin finished second to Samuelson in Saturday’s race with a time of 10:59.36.

“I felt strong but I didn’t feel fast,” said Samuelson of her effort. “I feel better at 51, almost 52, than I did in my late 40s.

“I was thinking that 10:30 was a realistic goal. I wanted to get that record, but it was a little too close for me. I had a lot left over, but I do need to do some speed work. I knew after that first mile that I would need to negative split to get the record.”

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