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VIDEO: Joan Benoit Samuelson after her gruelling Chicago Marathon

An emotional Samuelson expressed elation at having completed the marathon, after injuries had prevented her going the distance here in recent years

NBC Sports caught up with Joan Benoit Samuelson at the finish line of the Chicago Marathon yesterday, after her unsuccessful sub-3 attempt on the rainy, windy course. Samuelson graciously shared some post-race thoughts while attempting to catch her breath, and occasionally choking up with emotion. (She finished in 3:12:13.) 

RELATED: One this day in history, Joan Benoit Samuelson won the first women’s Olympic marathon

“I was determined to come back this year and go the distance,” she said, adding tearfully that “to have my daughter screaming at me as I was passing her in the chute, and to finish with her, that was just really special.”

Samuelson was referring to her daughter, Abby, 31, who she often runs with. “We’ll be back,” she said, “because we both want to go under-3 together… It was a tough day out there, but you know, I finished and I felt good, and that’s a step in the right direction.”


Benoit Samuelson famously won the very first women’s Olympic marathon, in Los Angeles in 1984, and she has remained an icon of women’s running ever since, participating in (and winning) many World Major Marathons.

This year, Samuelson kept her Chicago appearance on the down-low, claiming to not want to get people’s hopes up when she’d been there in the recent past with injuries that prevented her from running the full distance.  

Samuelson thanked everyone associated with the race, including race director Carey Pinkowski, who she described as a “true friend.”