Joan Benoit Samuelson
Joan Benoit Samuelson, one of Maine’s most recognizable athletes, founded the TD Beach to Beacon 10K Road Race in 1998 to benefit children’s charities in Maine. This year on August 5 the TD Beach to Beacon will celebrate its 20th anniversary. The TD Beach to Beacon 10K attracts elite runners around the globe, as well as recreational runners throughout New England. Joan ran many of the same coastal roads while growing up in Cape Elizabeth and training for the first Women’s Olympic Marathon in Los Angeles in 1984. While a senior at Bowdoin College, Benoit entered the 1979 Boston Marathon as a virtual unknown and won, setting a record for American women. Following surgery on her Achilles tendons, she again won the Boston Marathon in 1983. The eyes of the world were watching Joan when she won the first ever women’s Olympic Marathon. She has remained a dominant figure and a role model in the running world and women’s athletics ever since.