Check out my (amazing) running partner

JBS 682x1024 Check out my (amazing) running partner

That's me!! Running with the one and only Joan Benoit Samuelson

Every once in a while, I need to pinch myself to check if this life I’m living is real. Saturday, for instance, I ran more than six miles with Joan Benoit Samuelson. As in 1984 Olympic gold medalist, two-time Boston victor, former world-record holder Joan Benoit Samuelson. One on one. Surreal.

Joan was in town to run the IronGirl half marathon, an event directed by Robert Vigorito and the Tri Columbia organization (just about the best triathlon directing company on the planet, btw). I happen to write for IronGirl’s newsletter every month, so when I learned Joan was coming to town, I asked about the possibility of an interview. And what better way to do that interview than on the run?

I asked how far she wanted to go in advance and then devised a route that would highlight some of my town’s nicest spots–a couple of local lakes, our fantastic path system, etc. I met Joan at her hotel and off we went. Joan is known for her grace and humble attitude and that came across in our conversation. When I asked her about being a trail blazer for women’s running, she quickly paid homage to other pioneers in the sport who paved the path for her. According to her, she was in the right place at the right time when the first women’s Olympic marathon became reality. Like I said, humble.

We also talked about how much the sport has grown, especially when it comes to female involvement. She attributes it to the fact that running is something affordable and accessible to just about everyone. For her, she said, running is a time for reflection, and she believes this is much of the appeal for many women. To that end, she does most of her runs solo and uses this time for quiet thinking.

These days, Joan is still a competitive runner, nailing down 2:50 marathons. She said she does about two races per month and one marathon a year, although not all of her racing is done at full on race pace. She dedicates much of her time to charity events and is currently spearheading efforts to bring a world-class endurance athlete training venue to Maine, one that would also help bring health awareness to the community and focus on sustainable farming practices. She’s definitely used her “star power” for the better good over the years.

We touched on a wide variety of topics and she was always open and forthcoming. It felt very easy to ask her opinion on just about anything. For more details, you’ll have to stop by IronGirl’s web site next month to check out the full article I’ll be putting together.

Oh, and if you’re wondering about pace and keeping up with Joan–she went easy on me, of that I am sure. I will say this, though: I kind of regretted the nine miles I ran earlier in the day with friends!

JBSvig2 300x200 Check out my (amazing) running partner

Me, Joan, and race director Robert Vigorito

Many, many thanks to both IronGirl and TriColumbia for hooking me up for the amazing, once in a lifetime experience. If you’re a runner or triathlete in the Mid-Atlantic, I highly recommend you check out their events, especially their brand-new IronGirl triathlon coming up this summer in Rocky Gap, PA, which promises to be a beautiful course and top-notch race experience.

Who else has met Joan?

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  1. color me jealous! So awesome – what an amazing opportunity!
    kathy recently posted..Updates from a blogger slacker…My Profile

  2. First of all – I’m so jealous! Second – I’ve decided that no more will I gawk from a distance. This summer when I see her at Beach to Beach or the LL Bean 10k, I WILL introduce myself! I only live 30 minutes from her and do see her at various summer road races. You are one lucky lady!!!
    Jen recently posted..Team Need For SpeedMy Profile

  3. this post made me smile and also think YAY I AM NOT AS RUNNING UNHIP AS ID THOUGHT!

    so so cool.
    Miz recently posted..Five reasons I still love me some Dr. Oz.My Profile

  4. Wow! Now there’s an experience most people don’t get!
    Jesse N. recently posted..Calories Burned: A ComparisonMy Profile

  5. What a great opportunity! Joan ran in two races that I’ve run in the last two years and seeing her was so very cool for me. Her speed leaves me in awe and I’d love to hear her talk about all of her race experiences like you were able too! Happy for you!

  6. This is a dream come true! She is definitely on my list of elite runners I would love to meet one day! I’ve heard the same about her – it’s funny – seems that most distance runners have the same demeanor as she does – down-to-earth and humble.
    Thanks for sharing your conversation and a few pictures!! So happy (and jealous of course) for you! =)
    Michele @ nycrunningmama recently posted..Officially Published!!My Profile

  7. She is so very inspiring, not only her past (although, come on, it’s awe-inspiring), but because of who she is today. She has aged so gracefully and does so much to help our sport. As a master runner, she is someone I can aspire to. Not that I don’t love runner’s like Shalane and Kara, but Joan is where I can aspire to go (obviously never being that good, but I can relate to her). I can’t think of a better person to have interviewed her. You have so many of the qualities you described in her… Open, humble and kind. I really look forward to reading the full article. I really wish I was sticking around to have run the Iron Girl Half, sounds like an event not to miss.
    LisaM@RunWiki recently posted..A Tribute to my TribeMy Profile

  8. What a great opportunity! I’m sure you picked a great route to show her the area as well!
    abbi recently posted..Gettysburg North-South MarathonMy Profile

  9. What an amazing experience for you! :-)

    Malinda (slow twin) met Joanie at the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler Expo when she went to pick-up race bib for Leah (fast twin) who ran a PR with the bib Joanie signed for her! :-)

    Joanie is so inspirational and a great story teller, too! Just like her, my “races tell stories” – I just wish I was better at writing! ;-)
    @TwinSistersRun recently posted..REDEFINE POSSIBLEMy Profile

  10. You have the biggest smile in that picture, so awesome! And that picture of you two running is so cool. What an amazing experience and much deserved. :)

  11. I met her at an expo and got her autograph. she is my idol. Running with her…lucky lucky you!
    Darlene recently posted..Walking For Miles and Miles…My Profile

  12. what an awesome experience for you! love the pic of the 2 of you running :)
    Tara Burner recently posted..Affirmations for Reaching Your GoalsMy Profile

  13. Seriously awesome. What an opportunity for you and I can thuink of no better person to have this chance than you. Congrats!
    jason @ Cook Train Eat Race recently posted..Ironman Saint George Is Now Half-Ironman Saint GeorgeMy Profile

  14. What an amazing and incredible experience!! She sounds like one incredible woman in person outside of all the medals, 1st place finishes etc. and I would love to learn more about the work she’s doing in Maine.
    Christine @ Love, Life, Surf recently posted..Scenes from my weekend – Las VegasMy Profile

  15. Thats just awesome!!

  16. What an amazing experience! That is so awesome that you got to run with her.

  17. I love to hear she is a not only a great runner but also a great human being.
    Ewa recently posted..Old traditionsMy Profile

  18. Very cool!

    A 2:50 marathon is impressive by all means!
    Holly recently posted..What I’m Thinking After Running a RaceMy Profile

  19. Wowzers! What an amazing opportunity!!! She is an amazing person!! Congrats on scoring an awesome running partner for the day!!!
    Fancy Nancy recently posted..Motivation MondayMy Profile

  20. How super cool is that! And she sounds like a genuinely amazing person. I can’t wait to read your article!
    Tracy recently posted..Let the taper begin!My Profile

  21. So cool! What an opportunity.
    Heather (Where’s the Beach) recently posted..Running, Relaxing & PlayingMy Profile

  22. Last fall when I ran with her, she did not go easy on me! She really wanted to run on our canal path and so we had a 10 mile route for her, I ran with her for about 5 miles at 7:15 min/mile pace before having to drop back and I had raced the day before too. She is amazing tho and it was so fun to hear her talk about her life. Such an amazing experience.
    J recently posted..Tune up RaceMy Profile

  23. That’s so incredible. What a wonderful experience for you! She looks fantastic, what an amazing woman!

  24. This is so awesome…and yes I am jealous which is I why I live vicariously through you.
    Laura recently posted..Four for Friday – the bread and yoga editionMy Profile

  25. woooowwww. and you even match. lovely!
    Rachelle recently posted..Run. Inspire.My Profile

  26. What an amazing opportunity. Anxious to read all about it.
    Christina recently posted..O Solo Me-OMy Profile

  27. What a cool experience and a great memory to treasure.
    Britt @ Chicago Runner Girl recently posted..A 5k DNF, but no hard feelingsMy Profile

  28. A few things. 1. Great writing. 2. Lucky you. 3. So cool. 4. You look great. Seriously, your legs look so hot and fit in that running pic. 5. Such an experience Amanda!!

  29. That is all kinds of cool. I remember devouring the coverage of the ’84 olympics – I even bought the commemorative coins with my scarce teenage dollars. I vividly recall watching her finish the race, although as a kid I didn’t really grasp the significance of the race. Really great that you had a chance to do this. She really represents all that’s good about running and sports.
    Chris @ Evolving Through Running recently posted..Tapering Towards UltraMy Profile

  30. That is super awesome! What a cool experience!
    Jen recently posted..BIG NEWS! We are making a running documentary!My Profile

  31. How totally awesome you got to run with one of the pioneers of women’s distance running (even if she won’t admit it). I think you asked some very thoughtful questions and I’ll be interested to read the full story…you’re such a tease!
    Alison Gittelman recently posted..Friday Feelings – Please Rate My Emotive AbilitiesMy Profile

  32. That’s awesome!! Can’t wait to read the interview :D
    Heather recently posted..Ragnar SoCal Recap – Part The EndMy Profile

  33. How exciting is that??? A memorable experience for sure! When will the interview be posted? We’ll want to read it!
    Kathleen recently posted..Spring in the Mountains – A Few Days in Pagosa SpringsMy Profile

  34. That is so great, I bet you were and still are in heaven. You obviously were asked because you too are well respected. Again, well done Miss Zip!!
    Fueled by Spite recently posted..3:54My Profile

  35. How incredibly cool – to run with such a gracious historical figure is something I’m sure you’ll never forget!
    Kovas recently posted..Monday MotivationMy Profile

  36. That is really cool! I talked to her on a plane for about 2 hours once, sat right next to her after she had been in my hometown on Davenport to run the Bix 7. She couldn’t have been any nicer.

    Um…if I knew I was running with her for even just 6 miles, I’d have had to taper for a couple weeks to keep up with her easy pace. Haha. No way I could have run 9 earlier with friends.
    Jill recently posted..Let’s blame this failure on the socks….My Profile

  37. I am so so glad you got to do this. How wonderful! I love Joan and her story. Yay for you! :) Hugs!
    Erin Henderson recently posted..Back to businessMy Profile

  38. What a great experience! She has to be a great woman (and of course a great runner).
    Black Knight recently posted..MaremmaMy Profile

  39. What an amazing experience!!! Thanks for sharing :)
    Beth @ RUNNING around my kitchen recently posted..Komen 10K & weekly recapMy Profile

  40. i’m so jealous! what an amazing opportunity!!!!
    Kristy recently posted..RecoveryMy Profile

  41. What an AMAZING experience! I am so happy for you that you got to do this — I really can’t think of anyone more deserving of such an honor. I’m excited to read the article when it’s published – please share here or let us know the link. So wonderful!!!!
    jessica recently posted..Number 3My Profile

  42. What an inspiration! I love stories of women still running as they get older, and her paces are just unbelievable. I love that she’s so humble about it… what an awesome opportunity for you!
    Laura recently posted..April recapMy Profile

  43. That is so amazing! A once in a lifetime experience:)
    hikermom recently posted..Hero’s Half Race Recap and PR!My Profile

  44. SO SO COOL! She is seriously my favorite. I met her here in Chicago when she was in doing broadcast for the marathon. Cannot remember what year. I am thrilled you had such a great opportunity and can’t wait to read the full article. : D
    Teamarcia recently posted..Race Report: Loop the LakesMy Profile

  45. Wow, that is awesome! I bet you were stoked! What an honor.
    Kyria recently posted..Then & Now: AprilMy Profile

  46. Very cool. Congrats on meeting — and running with — such a legend. Cheers!
    Viper recently posted..How to Approach a Horse’s AssMy Profile

  47. ahhh soooo lucky! rumor has it she will be at the Cle Marathon, hoping to get her autograph and a photo w/ her!!! what an icon.
    Kristy (@KrisRunTri) recently posted..Week 4 – Finally A Long Run In The BankMy Profile

  48. The most I can say is that I shook her hand at the Olympic Trials in January. Wow! What an opportunity! I’m looking forward to reading the full article.
    Terzah recently posted..Oh, Our Aching Backs–Part OneMy Profile

  49. What a fantastic experience for you! Very very cool…
    bobbi recently posted..Grandma’s Marathon Training: Week 11 (in which I ran 50 miles and did not die)My Profile

  50. Look at your smile! How thrilled you must have been. :)
    What a nice way to spend a weekend, trail blazing with JBS.
    Joanne recently posted..King of Kings 5K and Chocolate Orange Ginger MoelleuxMy Profile

  51. I bet when you started your blog you never thought you’d do running interviews with legends. Truly amazing!
    I totally agree with her as far as why women run. I enjoy having the time to think and get my head in the right place.
    Char recently posted..Riding the Roller CoasterMy Profile

  52. wow! what an opportunity! joan is amazing, and have to love that she’s still so humble.
    lindsay recently posted..ali asnameMy Profile

  53. Wow, what a cool opportunity!
    Kate recently posted..Weekend updateMy Profile

  54. Aaaaamazing! Congrats on getting such an amazing opportunity.
    That picture of you two running is awesome.
    Please tell me you will frame it and keep forever.
    Missy recently posted..Picnic at the lakeMy Profile

  55. She is so impressive and how neat that you got to run with her. She came to Montana last year for a run and was a guest speaker. She won the race but I love saying I raced with her and won my age group but still got beat by an older woman. She is so inspirational!

  56. wow, what a super cool experience! A memory that you’ll never forget and great pictures to go along with it! SO inspiring…thank you for sharing with all of us!
    marissa recently posted..a month for changeMy Profile

  57. Wow – that is too cool:) What an awesome experience!
    Laima recently posted..Meatless Monday – Almond Ginger NoodlesMy Profile

  58. Wow! Wow! Wow! I can’t say it enough. You are so fortunate but I bet she liked meeting you too! You just had an experience not many people get. Wow!

  59. WOW!!! She ran past me at the Maine Marathon and I almost died becasue she’s such a huge celeb. I can’t imagine actully running WITH HER! Wow…. :-)

  60. What an amazing opportunity! Girl this is so freaking awesome. I hope you got her to autograph something!!! I bet you could ebay the clothes you wore on the run! LOL!
    Morgan recently posted..April Recap/StatsMy Profile

  61. That is really cool!

  62. Amazing That’s one woman I’d love to meet!
    Gracie recently posted..Let’s RunMy Profile

  63. so very cool! I am very happy for you. I have never met her or seen her but I do remember being glued to the TV for the 1984 marathon and I remember seeing this little woman with the white cap coming in the big stadium…it was fantastic!
    Caroline recently posted..The Boss {and running sick sucks}My Profile

  64. So cool! What an experience!
    Fran recently posted..Monday April 30, 2012: The mishmash editionMy Profile

  65. What an incredible opportunity and a memory you’ll have forever!
    That Pink Girl recently posted..Soundtrack to My LifeMy Profile

  66. I believe this research helped me a lot in my work. It’s very informative and useful article.
    Tomas J. Powers recently posted..vimax volumeMy Profile

  67. That is awesome!! What a great opportunity to get to run with Joan Benoit Samuelson!!!!
    Toni Church recently posted..#BestBodyBootcamp Week 8 Recap, New Challenges and a Danskin Winner!!!My Profile

  68. That’s really awesome. I haven’t met Joan, but I have met Bill Rodgers twice. I think I mentioned that on another comment of yours recently. :)
    David H. recently posted..3 things: Luck, PRs, HailMy Profile

  69. That is an amazing running partner!! It must have been incredible to run with and talk to her!

  70. I’m way behind on my blog reading, but so glad I got to read this! Joan is one of my all-time favorites! What an awesome experience to run with her. Looking forward to reading your full interview!
    Michelle @ Running with Attitude recently posted..Playing catch upMy Profile


  1. [...] value in developing you running skills first. As Joan Benoit Samuelson and I discussed on our run this past weekend, you don’t have to run a marathon in order to consider yourself a [...]

  2. [...] I never get sick of remembering this run (and I apologize if you do)Then last Saturday came my runwith Joan Benoit Samuelson, and here’s where I think I put a hurting on my legs. I ran nine in [...]

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