Samuelson aims for 2012 Olympic marathon trials

Posted Sept. 27, 2010, at 6:25 p.m.
Last modified Sept. 27, 2010, at 9:06 p.m.

PORTLAND — Olympic gold medalist Joan Benoit Samuelson says she will run next month’s Chicago marathon, with hopes of qualifying for the 2012 Olympic trials.

The 53-year-old Samuelson told The Associated Press on Monday that she will try to break 2 hours, 47 minutes, the time she says is needed to qualify for the trials, in the Oct. 10 race.

Her No. 1 goal, she said, is to break 2:50 for the third time since turning 50.

“Being realistic, running a sub-2:47 is really going to take a huge effort,” said Samuelson, who ran last year’s New York City marathon in 2:49:09.

Samuelson, who lives in Freeport won the women’s marathon at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.

She competed in the 2008 Olympic trials in Boston, saying then that it would be her last competitive race. She finished in 2:49:08 to set an American record for the 50-54 age group but did not make the Olympic team.

This time she won’t say whether Chicago will be her final competitive marathon.

She said still runs about 80 miles a week and was interested in running in Chicago because that’s where she set an American record 25 years ago. The Chicago marathon has grown fivefold, from 9, 000 to 45,000 runners, since Samuelson ran the course in 2:21:21.

Race director Carey Pinkowski said he invited Samuelson to run one more time because she set the tone for an entire generation of long-distance runners.

“We’re excited to have her back,” he said.

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