PORTLAND, Maine — It seems only fitting that Joan Benoit Samuelson will be running her final competitive marathon in Boston, the city where she first made her mark in the sport.
"I can't think of a more appropriate place," the 50-year-old Samuelson told the Maine Sunday Telegram. "This is it. It's Boston, where I started my career and where I'm ending it. It's been a great run."
Samuelson, who lives in Freeport, is the oldest of the 162 runners registered for the U.S. Olympic women's marathon trials Sunday in Boston. The race, to be run on a loop course through the city's streets, comes one day before the traditional Boston Marathon.
For Samuelson, who won her first Boston Marathon in 1979, her fourth and final Olympic trials will be both a homecoming of sorts and a grand finale.
"To think that she's going out on her own turf, in front of the hometown fans, it's fitting that she's going to perform one final time," said race director and good friend Dave McGillivray.
Although Samuelson has no illusions of being one of the three runners to earn a spot on the U.S. team that will compete this summer in Beijing, McGillivray said it was important for her to compete this last time.
"She is the sport's most famous and recognizable name," he said. "She is America's favorite goodwill ambassador of the sport."