Record-setting marathoner Joan Benoit Samuelson tells how it’s done

Joan Benoit Samuelson
Joan Benoit Samuelson

To help recover from a slalom skiing accident in which she broke her leg, Joan Benoit Samuelson took to long-distance running in high school and became dedicated to the sport.

Samuelson was the first women’s Olympic marathon champion, winning the gold medal at the 1984 Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles and won her sixth first-place marathon title at the Chicago Marathon, where she went on to hold the American record for fastest woman for 32 years.

With decades of experience in long-distance running, Samuelson will share her philosophy and approach to running that allows her to discover new things about herself and rediscover the joys of running every time she laces her shoes.

MasterClass, the streaming platform where anyone can learn from the world’s best across a wide range of subjects, has announced that marathon champion Joan Benoit Samuelson will teach a class on the runner’s mindset.

“Joan made history by taking the gold medal in the first women’s Olympic marathon in 1984 and has continued to break records, running more than 150,000 miles in her lifetime,” said David Rogier, founder and CEO of MasterClass. “Joan’s class combines technical know-how with spirituality and mental tools to relay an infectious passion in the sport of running.”

Samuelson will teach her principles for staying persistent, listening to your body, recovering from injury and visualizing your goals. From finding the proper pair of shoes to breathing and stretching exercises to logging minutes as opposed to miles, Samuelson’s lessons will help runners at any level reach and surpass their goals. To help members prepare for a marathon, Samuelson will provide guidance on implementing a three-month training schedule, breaking down everything they will need to cross the finish line.


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Samuelson reflects on how the 1972 Title IX legislation changed the trajectory of her career and opened a world of possibilities for women in professional sports. Members will leave this class feeling confident and inspired to embrace the inclusive and accessible sport of running with drive, motivation and curiosity.

“A marathon is a metaphor for life. We all have bends in the road that we cannot see ahead, and we have to make a commitment to ourselves to put one foot in front of the other to get us where we want to go,” Samuelson said. “In my class, I will help members find joy, combat challenges and set goals to make running work for them and get them to the finish line.”

AWARDS

Samuelson is an American marathon runner and the first women’s Olympic marathon champion, winning the gold medal at the 1984 Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles. She won the Broderick Award as the best female collegiate cross-country runner in the U.S. for 1979–80. She entered the 1979 Boston Marathon and achieved her earliest first-place title, holding the fastest time by an American woman at that race for 28 years. In 1985, Samuelson won her sixth first-place marathon title at the Chicago Marathon, where she went on to hold the American record for fastest woman for 32 years. That same year, she received the prestigious Sullivan Award and the Jesse Owens Award. In non-marathon distance races, she has accumulated six additional wins at the prestigious Falmouth Road Race. In 1998, she founded the Beach to Beacon 10K Road Race in her hometown of Cape Elizabeth, Maine, to give back to a sport and community that has given so much to her. In 2008, Samuelson was inducted into the United States Olympic & Paralympic Hall of Fame.

Samuelson’s class is now available exclusively on MasterClass, where subscribers get unlimited access to all 150+ instructors with an annual membership.


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