The list isn’t long of Maine athletes who have achieved world-class status. Our darling, since she set the women’s world record in 1983 in the Boston Marathon, has been Joan Benoit Samuelson. Back in those days, as Joan Benoit, she graced Maine magazine covers and newspaper headlines on a regular basis, as we watched and hoped for her.
Meanwhile, back home in Maine today, what ‘Joanie’ is doing is also worthy of recognition and does bring many top-rated runners to our state. It’s her Beach to Beacon 10K, to start in Cape Elizabeth on Saturday, August 5 at 8 a.m. Register at http://www.beach2beacon.org/ to support the charity Let’s Go! This program reaches thousands of kids with a program of increased activity and healthy eating. The key is the 5-2-1-0 healthy habits message: five or more fruits and vegetables, two hours or less of screen time, one hour or more of physical activity, and zero sugary drinks.
We’re sure that Benoit-Samuelson wasn’t sipping a Mountain Dew when she said, “[I promised myself that I would] give back to the sport that had given me so much and that I would also give back to the Maine community which has always inspired me and kept me buoyant.” The Olympic Hall-of-Famer, like us, loves the hardworking spirit of Maine and will always be at home here. This is the woman who told her family when they surrounded her as she stepped off the 1984 Olympic podium wearing gold that she didn’t want them to let the victory change who they knew her to be as a person.
Go see what you can do on that bit of road, runners. Wouldn’t you trust a woman who has kept so busy and active since her initial successes that just four years ago she finished the Boston Marathon with a time that was less than thirty minutes behind her 1983 record? We would.