Each February, the Binghamton Bearcats Athletic Association celebrates women in sports by hosting an open-to-the-public luncheon at the university. The luncheon always features a fantastic speaker who shares empowering stories of how she made her mark in the world of sports. The luncheon has featured speakers such as world champion softball pitcher Jennie Finch and Olympic Hall of Fame Gymnast Shannon Miller, and this year, the guest of honor will be Joan Benoit Samuelson.

Benoit Samuelson began long-distance running to help recover from a broken leg, a result of a skiing accident. The decision to take up running would change the course of Benoit Samuelson’s life. In 1979, Benoit Samuelson, a virtual nobody in the running world, entered the Boston Marathon. Not only did she win the race, but she also knocked eight minutes off the competition record. It would take 11 years for her Boston Marathon record to be beat.

In 1984, the Summer Olympics took place in Los Angeles and not only did Benoit Samuelson participate, but she left the games a gold medal champion, winning the very first Olympic Women’s Marathon.

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In the years since Beniot Sameulson has continued to do amazing things. She won the 1985 Chicago Marathon, won the Maine half-marathon at the age of 46, broke records at the New York City and Chicago Marathons, has written books, and even founded her own 10k road race. When it comes to accolades, they continue to be heaped on Benoit Samuelson. She was inducted into the National Distance Running Hall of Fame, into the National Track and Field Hall of Fame, and into the USATF Masters Hall of Fame. At the L.A. Memorial Coliseum’s Court of Honor, visitors will see a plaque on the wall honoring Benoit Samuelson.

Benoit Samuelson will bring her incredible story to the Binghamton Bearcats Athletic Association's 14th Annual Celebrating Women’s Athletics Luncheon at noon on Monday, February 4th at the Events Center. This event is open to the public, however, space is limited.

Tickets for the event are $60 while table sponsorships are $600. If you’d like to buy tickets, you can get them at the Events Center Box Office on the Binghamton University Campus, or you can order them online.

[via Binghamton University/Sports Rank/Active/Sports Illustrated/Sun Journal/ESPN]