By Senior Correspondent Marty Ogden, Editing and Graphics by Ron Knapp
The 1970s were known as The Running Boom in America. Before then, few people ran and the races that existed were sparsely attended. All that changed when Frank Shorter won the Olympic marathon gold medal in 1972. After that road races popped up all over the place and began attracting thousands of runners. At the forefront of that wave of popularity were four New England runners, Patti Dillon, Bill Rodgers, Amby Burfoot and Joan Benoit Samuelson. The quartet made an appearance at the 10th annual Redding Road Race Expo on Saturday and MySportsResults had a chance to talk to them. Check out our interviews of Bill Rodgers and Joan Benoit Samuelson noted below.
Bill Rodgers is an American runner, Olympian, and former record holder in the marathon. Rodgers is best known for his four victories in both the Boston Marathon, including three straight from 1978 to 1980, and 4 straight wins in the New York City Marathon, between 1976 and 1979. “Boston Billy” as he has become known, ran track for Newington High and Wesleyan College. Rodgers, now 75 finished 96th out of 245 runners in the 7-mile race and finished in a time of 1:08.49, which is a sub 10 minute mile pace over the hilly course.
Click to view Bill Rodgers interview with Marty Ogden
Joan Benoit Samuelson was the first women’s Olympic Games marathon champion, winning the gold medal at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. She held the fastest time for an American woman at the Chicago Marathon for 32 years after winning the race in 1985 in a time of 2:21:21. She grew up in Maine before attending Bowdoin College and North Carolina State University then college coaching stints in Boston in the 80s’. She still calls Maine her home.
Click to view Joan Benoit Samuelson interview with Marty Ogden
Amby Burfoot is a former American marathoner whose peak competitive years came in the late 1960s and early 1970s. He roomed with Rodgers at Wesleyan University and was credited with motivating him to take up the marathon after winning the 1968 Boston Marathon while a senior in college. After retiring from competition, he became a running journalist and author. He is also the uncle of current Hall track and field coach Jeff Billing. Burfoot, currently living in Mystic, CT ran a time of 1:05.29, which is 9:22 mile pace and finished 70th out of 245 finishers.
Patti Catalano Dillon was one of the most dominating American female road runners…
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