With less than one month until the 117th Boston Marathon, the Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.) announced that several former champions of the Boston Marathon will return to Boston to participate in events surrounding this year’s running of the historic race. The 117th running of the world’s oldest annual marathon will take place on Monday, April 15, 2013.
Inaugural Olympic gold medalist Joan Samuelson will run this year’s Boston Marathon. Samuelson, 55, won the 1979 and 1983 Boston Marathons before winning the Olympic Games Marathon in Los Angeles in 1984. She will return to Boston on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of her 1983 victory, the race in which she established a world record (two hours, 22 minutes, 43 seconds). Samuelson has run the previous two Boston Marathons (2:51:29 in 2011; 3:28:08 in 2012), including last year under challenging conditions (i.e., extremely warm weather) while starting with her daughter, Abby. She is a member of principal sponsor John Hancock Financial Services’ Elite Athlete Team and is one of the sport’s most recognizable and popular personalities. Samuelson has remained competitive for more than three decades.
Also returning to run this year’s Boston Marathon are Greg Meyer and Amby Burfoot. Like Samuelson, Meyer will mark the 30th anniversary of his 1983 Boston Marathon victory and will also be a member of John Hancock’s Elite Athlete Team this year. A Michigan native, Meyer, 57, is the most recent American male to have won the Boston Marathon and has spent the last two years also serving as coach for Hancock’s Employee Training Team. Burfoot, 66, will mark the 45th anniversary of his Boston Marathon win this year. In 1968, Burfoot’s victory made him the Boston Marathon’s first American champion in 11 years. Burfoot was coached by the late John J. Kelley, the 1957 Boston Marathon champion and the only B.A.A. Running Club member to win the Boston Marathon. Both Meyer and Burfoot will run this year’s event with their families in celebration of their accomplishments. Meyer and Burfoot will wear bibs 1983 and 1968, respectively.
“We are honored by the presence of our past champions, and we welcome them back to Boston with great pride,” said Tom Grilk, B.A.A. Executive Director. “Winning the Boston Marathon is a career milestone that all of our champions cherish for a lifetime. They are also extremely engaging individuals who liven up any celebration that they attend, and we look forward to celebrating their achievement and showcasing them at our events throughout Boston Marathon weekend. It will be fun to have them here.”
The B.A.A. will honor Samuelson, Meyer, and Burfoot in recognition of the anniversaries of their Boston Marathon victories at its annual Champions’ Breakfast on Saturday, April 13, 2013. Jacqueline Hansen will also be recognized at the event as she marks the 40th anniversary of her 1973 victory. Hansen defeated defending champion Nina Kuscsik to become the women’s champion only one year after women were first officially allowed to compete in the Boston Marathon. As an added recognition, Hansen will serve as the honorary, official starter for the elite women’s field this Patriots’ Day.
Additionally, a pair of pioneers of women’s marathon running – Boston champions Roberta “Bobbi” Gibb and Sara Mae Berman will serve as the grand marshals for the 2013 Boston Marathon. The B.A.A. has reserved the grand marshal role as a position of recognition and honor. Gibb and Berman will ride in a Nissan pace car ahead of the lead runners, heralding to spectators along the course that thousands of runners will soon be coming.
Gibb became the first woman to run and successfully complete the Boston Marathon in 1966, six years prior to the official acceptance of female participation in the event. She won again in 1967 and 1968. Berman won from 1969 through 1971 and placed fifth in 1972, the first year of official participation for women in the Boston Marathon.
Defending champions Wesley Korir, of Kenya (men’s open race); Sharon Cherop, of Kenya (women’s open race); Joshua Cassidy, of Canada (men’s push rim wheelchair race); and Shirley Reilly, of Arizona (women’s push rim wheelchair race) will also attend the Champions’ Breakfast to officially and ceremonially receive their top-seeded bibs for the 2013 Boston Marathon as they look to defend their titles on April 15.
Many other Boston Marathon champions, legends, pioneers, and significant figures in race history will also be in town to participate in Boston Marathon weekend in a number of ways.
Find more Boston Marathon news and information at http://www.baa.org/