March 15, 2019 / 8:55 PM / 5 months ago

Athletics: Benoit Samuelson to race in Boston again at age 61

FILE PHOTO: Joan Benoit Samuelson (2nd L), the first gold medal winner in the women's marathon, congratulates the top three women finishers (L) Shalane Flanagan, first, Kara Goucher, third and Desiree Davila (R), second, at the finish line of the U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon in Houston January 14, 2012. REUTERS/Richard Carson/File Photo

(Reuters) - Joan Benoit Samuelson, the first woman to win an Olympic marathon gold medal, is going to race in next month’s Boston Marathon at age 61, organizers said on Friday.

The twice Boston champion will be celebrating the 40th anniversary of her 1979 victory, which she won in a course-record time of 2:35:15 as a 21-year-old college student.

“My goal is to run within 40 minutes of my time 40 years ago,” the Maine native said in a statement. “I might as well celebrate during an anniversary year, while I’m still able!”

The race is scheduled for April 15.

Samuelson, a long-time leader in women’s distance running, also won the 1983 Boston Marathon in a then-world record 2:22:43.

A year later, she claimed the inaugural women’s Olympic marathon in Los Angeles, taking the gold medal in 2:24:52.

Samuelson’s last Boston Marathon came in 2015. She won the Veterans (age 50-59) division in 2011, 2013 and 2014.

Reporting by Gene Cherry in Raleigh, North Carolina; Editing by Toby Davis

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