April 18, 1983: Foreshadowing her gold-medal triumph the following year at the Los Angeles Summer Olympics, Cape Elizabeth native Joan Benoit wins the Boston Marathon for the second time and notches a women’s world-record – 2:22:43.

Greg Meyer of Michigan wins the men’s race that year, finishing at 2:09:00. After that, through 2020, only one other American man and two other American women win the Boston Marathon.

After she won the 1979 Boston race, also in record time – 2:35:15 – Benoit had an appendectomy and, in December 1981, surgery on both feet, causing her to wonder whether she ever would race again.

Before the 1983 marathon, however, she won several races and was running 100 miles per week.

Decades later in 2019, Joan Benoit Samuelson steps up to the challenge again at age 61.

Stating that her goal was to come within 40 minutes of the time in her first marathon win, she runs the Boston Marathon at 3:04:00, less than 29 minutes over her 1979 finish. She wears a Bowdoin College singlet, having graduated from the Brunswick school in 1979.

Joseph Owen is a retired copy desk chief of the Morning Sentinel and Kennebec Journal and board member of the Kennebec Historical Society. He can be contacted at: [email protected]om.


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