The Cape Elizabeth native and Freeport resident met her stated goal of finishing the 2019 race within 40 minutes of her winning time in 1979, completing the 26.2-mile trek from Hopkinton to downtown Boston in an even 3 hours, 4 minutes while running much of the marathon with her daughter Abby.
The effort not only enabled the 61-year-old Samuelson to place first in her age group (women 60-64) and 249th among all the women in the 30,000-runner field, but she also finished just 28 minutes and 45 seconds behind the 2:35:15 she ran to win Boston in her first-ever attempt at the distance as a college student four decades earlier.
“I did and I’m really happy about it,” Samuelson said during a postrace interview near the finish line with WBZ-TV.
“To have our daughter in this race with me meant a great deal to me. She’s as passionate about the sport as I am, and to be out there with everybody cheering us on and the weather backing off to maybe coming on a little too warm, I can’t complain,” she said.
Samuelson, who was wearing a Bowdoin College racing singlet and a Boston Red Sox hat — just as she did during the 1979 race — averaged 7 minutes, 1 second per mile along the route.
Wearing bib No. 1979, she reached the 13.1-mile midpoint in 1:29:55 and nearly maintained that pace the rest of the way by running the second half in 1:34:05.
Robert Ashby of Brunswick and Meg Brockett of Portland were the top Maine finishers in the men’s and women’s divisions, respectively.
Ashby, a 50-year-old Eastport native, placed 293rd overall with his time of 2:38.23 for a per-mile pace of 6:03.
Ashby ran nearly equal splits while placing third in the men’s 50-54 age division. He ran the first half-marathon in 1:18:44 and came home in 1:19:39.
Evan Graves, 37, of Caribou finished second among the Maine men’s contingent in 2:44:20. Julian Gazzelloni, 27, of Belgrade was third in 2:44.52.
Brockett, 23, finished 54th overall in the women’s field in 2:46:54. She completed the first half-marathon in 1:20:43 and the second half in 1:26:11. She ran at a 6:22 per mile pace.
The lone Maine women’s runner to start in the elite field, Sarah Mulcahy of Fort Kent, completed the race in 3:22:55.
The 33-year-old Mulcahy, a math teacher at Fort Kent Community High School who last December qualified for the 2020 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials with a personal-best time of 2:44:28, did not expect to challenge that time at Boston in great part because of harsh winter weather conditions that hampered her training for the event, along with a calf injury that further slowed her preparation.
Samuelson was a 21-year-old Bowdoin College student in 1979 when she set an American marathon record and a women’s course record at Boston. She won Boston again in 1983 with a world best at the time of 2:22:43.
A year later, Samuelson won the first Olympic women’s marathon at the 1984 Los Angeles Games.
Samuelson last ran the Boston Marathon in 2015 and finished in 2:54:03. She was the champion of the women’s veterans (ages 50-59) division at the 2011, 2013 and 2014 Boston Marathons, setting a veterans record of 2:50:29 in 2013.
Her most recent marathon before Boston was at last October’s Bank of America Chicago Marathon, where she was timed in 3:12:13.
Samuelson finished behind her daughter at Chicago but turned in the faster time at Boston. Abby Samuelson, 31, of Portland, Oregon, finished in 3:10.28.
“She’s just amazing at letting us live our passion, and I’ve found passion in running, too,” Abby Samuelson said during the WBZ-TV interview. “It’s exciting to be able to run with her in the races together.”
On Saturday, North Yarmouth native Ben True finished second in the Boston Athletic Association 5K.
The 33-year-old former Greely High School and Dartmouth College standout, who now lives in West Lebanon, New Hampshire, was clocked in 13:44, only two seconds behind race winner Francisco Sanclemente of Colombia.
Monicah Ngige of Kenya took the women’s 5K title in 15:16.