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Joan Benoit Samuelson and Uta Pippig return to the Boston Marathon

Posted by Steve Silva, Boston.com Staff  April 18, 2011 10:08 PM

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Two legendary women returned to Boylston Street for the 115th running of the Boston Marathon today.

Joan Benoit Samuelson, the 1979 and 1983 women's record-setting champion, returned to run Boston for the first time in 18 years. The 53-year-old Freeport, Maine native finished with a time of 02:51:29, good for first place in her age group.

Samuelson, who's back seized up Thursday, did not decide until this morning whether or not she would run the marathon, but the 1984 Olympic gold medalist ultimately decided to give it a go.

"I did it on a wing and a prayer," Samuelson said after finishing the race. "I wasted a lot of energy in the last couple of days wondering if I was going to get to the starting line and I decided with the forecast and the tail wind, that I'd regret not at least trying. I've never dropped out of a race. That was on my mind. I tried to put that out."

Samuelson set an American record of 2:23:15 in the 1979 Boston Marathon and in the 1983 race, she set a world record finishing in 2:22:43.

Samuelson's daughter Abby, who ran Boston for the first time, greeted her famous mother at the finish.

Uta Pippig, the Boston Marathon's women's champion for three straight years (1994-1996), was on hand to help the team from the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge.

"Those runners are having a lifetime experience," Pippig said. "To run a marathon, come on, in any condition. It's getting warm now, but they had a good time, many actually ran PRs (personal records) today."

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Look for updates, news, analysis and commentary from the following.
  • Steve Silva, Boston.com senior producer, two-time Boston Marathon sub-four hour runner.
  • Ty Velde is a 16-time Boston qualifier who's completed 12 consecutive Boston Marathons and 25 marathons overall. Ty is now training for his 13th Boston run and will provide training tips for those who train solo and outside, no matter what temperature it is.
  • Rich 'Shifter' Horgan is a 19-time Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge team member who runs in honor of his father, who died of colon cancer. He will provide updates on local running events with a focus on the charitable organizations that provide Boston Marathon entries for their organization's fund raising purposes

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