CAPE ELIZABETH – It wasn’t her fastest time ever, but TD Banknorth Beach to Beacon founder Joan Benoit Samuelson wasn’t looking to set a new land-speed record as she ran this year’s race, the 10th annual.

“We had a good time, and everybody’s happy so far,” Samuelson said. “I have no idea where I finished, but it was a lot of fun out there. A lot of people would encourage us along the way, a lot of other runners were trying to match our stride. It was a great celebration of our sport.”

Samuelson last ran the race in 2002 with some New York City firefighters in the first race after the 9-11 disaster and on the race’s fifth anniversary. This time around, she ran with Jaqueline Gareau, who won the Boston Marathon in 1980, one year after Samuelson won her first.

“I think Jaqueline ran a bit faster than she thought she would,” Samuelson said.

“It was a good race for me today,” Gareau said. “She kept encouraging me and finally I kept pushing.”

Gareau said part of the reason she needed to do well was her shoes. She was wearing a pair of Samuelson’s shoes.

“I needed to do well in these,” Gareau said.

Also in attendance this week was Grete Waitz, another great marathoner who has developed a strong bond with Samuelson over the years. Waitz, coming off of an injury, was unable to run, but at the awards ceremony, Gareau made sure to mention her.

Money talks

At the media briefing Friday, race director Dave McGillivray challenged Samuelson. He told her that he would donate one dollar for each runner to best Samuelson in the race Saturday to STRIVE, this year’s race beneficiary.

Samuelson told him she expected to be about mid-pack, but she and Gareau surprised many with a time of 41:57.

That time was good enough to place Samuelson 364th, much better than anticipated.

To make up for it, though, McGillivray upped his donation to $2,000.

Tradition lives

When speaking of tradition in road racing, immediately thoughts turn to the Boston Marathon. On hand Saturday was the executive director of the Boston Marathon, Guy Morse, who presented a special award to Samuelson.

“One of the events that gets it right, that does do it well and does it the best … is the TD Banknorth Beach to Beacon Road Race,” Morse said. “(Samuelson) is the life and the heart of this event, as well as the Boston Marathon as a matter of fact. We treasure her each year at Boston, and we treasure her here, now, as well.”

Morse presented Samuelson with a bowl commemorating the 10th anniversary of the race, and he, too, pledged $2,000 to STRIVE to match McGillivray’s contribution.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.