Joan Benoit represented the United States at the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Olympic Games and won gold in the inaugural marathon competition. As a result, she became the first female to win gold in the Olympic marathon. Benoit began her athletic career as a skier and took up long-distance running to recover from a leg injury she suffered while slaloming. Eventually, she signed a scholarship to run at North Carolina State University, where she helped the Wolfpack to an ACC CrossCountry Championship in 1978 while also earning consecutive All-American honors in 1977 and 1978. Upon earning her degree she won the Boston Marathon in her first ever race, and went on to win again in 1983 with a course record 2:22:43. Benoit’s victories include wins at the 1980 Auckland Marathon, 1982 Nike OTC Marathon, and the 1985 Chicago Marathon. After her retirement from competitive running she wrote several best selling books and became a women’s cross country and long distance running coach. She has also founded the Beach to Beacon 10k Road Race in Cape Elizabeth, Maine.
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