Running champion to speak at Celebrating Women’s Athletics Luncheon

Joan Benoit Samuelson won marathon gold medal at 1984 Olympics

Marathon great Joan Benoit Samuelson will speak at the 14th Annual Celebrating Women's Athletics Luncheon on Feb. 4. Graphic by Sydney Harbaugh
Marathon great Joan Benoit Samuelson will speak at the 14th Annual Celebrating Women's Athletics Luncheon on Feb. 4.
Graphic by Sydney Harbaugh
Marathon great Joan Benoit Samuelson will speak at the 14th Annual Celebrating Women's Athletics Luncheon on Feb. 4. Graphic by Sydney Harbaugh

The Binghamton Bearcats Athletic Association (BBAA) will host the 14th Annual Celebrating Women’s Athletics Luncheon presented by M&T Bank at noon Monday, Feb. 4, at the Events Center.

Held each year to recognize the achievements of Binghamton University’s female student-athletes, the luncheon also raises funding for scholarships awarded to female student-athletes at Binghamton University. This year, former Olympic gold medalist and retired American marathon runner Joan Benoit Samuelson is the featured speaker.

Benoit Samuelson was the first-ever women’s Olympic marathon champion, winning the gold medal at the 1984 Games in Los Angeles. In addition, she is a two-time Boston Marathon champion, having won the event in 1979 and 1983. Her winning time of 2:22.43 was the course record for 28 years. Furthermore, Benoit Samuelson’s 1985 victory in the Chicago Marathon established an event record that stood for 32 years.

Benoit Samuelson was inducted into the National Distance Running Hall of Fame in 1998, the Maine Women’s Hall of Fame in 2000, the National Track and Field Hall of Fame in 2004 and the USATF Masters Hall of Fame in 2014. In 2017, a plaque honoring her was unveiled in the L.A. Memorial Coliseum’s Court of Honor, where she won her 1984 Olympic Gold Medal

In addition to her running, Benoit Samuelson currently serves as a coach to women’s cross-country and long-distance athletes, and is a motivational speaker and sports commentator.

Benoit Samuelson is the latest of an impressive group of guest speakers who have come to Binghamton for the Celebrating Women’s Athletics Luncheon. She is preceded by Shannon Boxx (2018), Swin Cash (2017), Amy Van Dyken (2016), Rebecca Lobo (2015), Jennie Finch (2014), Shannon Miller (2013), Amanda Beard (2012), Julie Foudy (2011), Kara Lawson (2010) and Jessica Mendoza (2009).

Since 2006, the Celebrating Women’s Athletics Luncheon has raised more than $450,000 to support the BBAA Women’s Scholarship Fund. The scholarships were established in 2007, and have grown incrementally each year. In 2018, 10 scholarships were awarded to female student-athletes. The luncheon began in 2006, with just 75 attendees, and is today one of the Athletics Department’s primary fundraisers. Last year, an event-record 725 guests attended the event.

Luncheon attendees will have the opportunity to meet current Bearcat student-athletes and coaches from the women’s teams and to hear them speak about the role athletics has played in their development, careers and life. In addition, guests will have the chance to bid on several auction items with all proceeds going toward the BBAA Women’s Scholarship Fund.

Tickets for the event are $60 and table sponsorships are $600. To purchase tickets, visit the Events Center Box Office or order tickets online.

Posted in: Athletics