Champions Return For Boston 2015: Joan Samuelson, Lisa Rainsberger, Gelindo Bordin, Amby Burfoot Among Those To Run Boston Marathon, While Six Champions To Race In B.A.A. 5K

Press Release
April 7, 2015

BOSTON – The Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.) announced today that several champions of the Boston Marathon® will return to participate in events surrounding the 119th Boston Marathon, to be held on Monday, April 20, 2015. Champions Lisa Rainsberger (USA, 1985), Gelindo Bordin (ITA, 1990), Joan Samuelson (USA, 1979 and 1983), and Amby Burfoot (USA, 1968) will join 30,000 entrants in this year’s running of the world’s oldest annual marathon.

In addition, Morio Shigematsu (JPN, 1965), Jaqueline Gareau (CAN, 1980), Geoff Smith (GBR, 1984 and 1985), Greg Meyer (USA, 1983), Lorraine Moller (NZL, 1984), and Rainsberger will all run the B.A.A. 5K on Saturday, April 18, to kick off Boston Marathon weekend with 10,000 other participants.

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Each year, the B.A.A. invites several champions to celebrate the anniversary of significant victories. They will be feted at a Champions’ Breakfast held in their honor on Sunday, April 19.

Rainsberger, 53, is the last American woman to win the Boston Marathon’s open division, having claimed victory in 2:34:06 at the 1985 Boston Marathon. Rainsberger ran uncontested to win her first attempt at the Boston Marathon, defeating the field by more than 8 minutes. In 2015 she plans to celebrate the 30th anniversary of her win by racing both the Boston Marathon and B.A.A. 5K.

Bordin, 56, is the only male in history to win both the Olympic Games Marathon and the Boston Marathon. A resident of Biella, Italy, he won the 1988 Olympic Games Marathon in Seoul, South Korea, running 2:10:32. His 2:08:19 victory in Boston in 1990 made him the only champion in the men’s open division to represent Italy and the most recent champion in the men’s open division to represent a European nation.

Samuelson, 57, is a two-time Boston Marathon champion and winner of the inaugural women’s Olympic Marathon in 1984. Samuelson has run each of the past four Boston Marathons, winning her age division in 2014 (2:52:10), 2013 (2:50:29), and 2011 (2:51:29). The native of Maine completed the 2012 Boston Marathon with her daughter Abby in 3:28:08. Samuelson is also a John Hancock Elite Team Ambassador.

Burfoot, 68, returns to Boston a year after finishing the race in 4:42:48. In 2013, Burfoot commemorated the 45th anniversary of his 1968 victory, which made him the Boston Marathon’s first American champion in 11 years. A Mystic, Conn., resident, Burfoot was coached by the late John J. Kelley, the first, and currently lone, B.A.A. Running Club member to win the Boston Marathon (1957). He will once again race the Boston Marathon this year.

Shigematsu, 74, won the Boston Marathon in 1965 at the age of 24, and is celebrating the 50th anniversary of his victorious race from Hopkinton to Boston. With his win in 1965, Shigematsu ended a ten year draught since a Japanese runner had won the Boston Marathon, leading four athletes from his native country in the top five. Less than two months after winning the Boston Marathon, he set a then-world record of 2:12:00 at the Polytechnic Marathon in England. Shigematsu plans to celebrate his return to Boston by competing in the B.A.A. 5K on April 18.

Gareau, 62, will also run the B.A.A. 5K, celebrating the 35th anniversary of her Boston Marathon win. In 1980, Gareau became the first –and only— woman from Canada to win the Boston Marathon, setting a course record of 2:34:28. Ten years ago, in 2005, Gareau served as the race’s Grand Marshal, and was given the opportunity to run across the finish line and break the finish tape in a special ceremony. Gareau was a 1984 Olympian, and also finished second at the Boston Marathon in both 1982 and 1983.

Smith, 61, of Great Britain, is a two-time winner of the Boston Marathon being honored for both his 1984 and 1985 triumphs. After winning the 1984 contest in 2:10:34 –while still a senior at Providence College– Smith returned to defend his title in 2:14:05. A two-time Olympian, Smith is one of the few athletes to have run both a sub-four minute mile and a sub-2:10 marathon. Smith now resides in Massachusetts.

Celebrating the ten year anniversary of her 2005 victory is Cheri Blauwet, a two-time champion in the push rim wheelchair division. Blauwet won the 2004 Boston Marathon while still a medical student at Stanford University, breaking free in the Newton Hills and going on to win in 1:39:53. She successfully retained her title in 2005, claiming victory in 1:47:45. Blauwet is also a Paralympic medalist, and lives and works in the Boston area.

A longtime Boston resident, Bill Rodgers is a four-time Boston Marathon champion and is also a John Hancock Elite Team Ambassador. This year marks the 40th anniversary of his 1975 win, as well as the 35th anniversary of his 1980 victory. Throughout the year, Rodgers participates in many health and wellness initiatives, and makes appearances at numerous races. He was the grand marshal of the 2014 Boston Marathon, riding in a pace car ahead of the lead runners and heralding to spectators along the course that thousands of runners will soon be coming.

Also competing in the B.A.A. 5K will be Meyer, 59, the 1983 Boston Marathon winner who is also a coach for principal sponsor John Hancock Financial’s Employee Training Team for the Boston Marathon. He will serve as the Finish Line announcer for race day.

Lorraine Moller, 59, of New Zealand, will participate in the B.A.A. 5K as well. She won the 1984 Boston Marathon in 2:29:28, and is a four-time Olympian.

Sara Mae Berman, Jack Fultz, Roberta (Bobbi) Gibb, Nina Kuscsik, and Uta Pippig are among other Boston Marathon winners who will be in Boston for the 119th Boston Marathon.

A number of champions will try to earn another coveted olive wreath at this year’s Boston Marathon. Defending men’s open division champion Meb Keflezighi of California returns to Boston as a member of John Hancock’s Elite Athlete Team, looking to become the first repeat American winner since Bill Rodgers. Ernst van Dyk of South Africa, the defending men’s push rim wheelchair division winner, and Tatyana McFadden of Illinois, who is going for her third straight title in the women’s push rim wheelchair division, will also take the starting line in Hopkinton.

Men’s open division winners Wesley Korir (2012) and Lelisa Desisa (2013), as well as women’s open division champions Sharon Cherop (2012) and Caroline Kilel (2011) are also part of the John Hancock Elite Athlete Team seeking another Boston Marathon victory.

About the Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.)

Established in 1887, the Boston Athletic Association is a non-profit organization with a mission of promoting a healthy lifestyle through sports, especially running. The B.A.A.’s Boston Marathon is the world’s oldest annual marathon, and the organization manages other local events and supports comprehensive charity, youth, and year-round running programs. Since 1986, the principal sponsor of the Boston Marathon has been John Hancock Financial. The Boston Marathon is part of the Abbott World Marathon Majors, along with the international marathons in Tokyo, London, Berlin, Chicago, and New York City. More than 60,000 runners will participate in B.A.A. events in 2015. The 119th Boston Marathon will be held on Monday, April 20, 2015. For more information on the B.A.A., please visit