My sister completed her first marathon today—she was around 4 hours (she's almost 47 too so that really kicks ass).
We were talking about Joan Benoit, one of the US's greatest marathoners. If you are from Maine, you've heard of her—she's probably our greatest athlete. She won the first gold medal in 1984 when they allowed the women's marathon for the first time—people were tense, a little bit because there was still some ideas that women couldn't endure that kind of race.
She has won the Boston Marathon twice and won the Chicago Marathon in 1985 with a career high of about 2:21, a record that was held for almost two decades. Joan ran a sub-2:50 marathon at the Olympic Trials in 2008, when she was above 50, a sub-2:50 marathon in Chicago in 2010 at 53 and she recently ran the Boston marathon with a time around 2:50— at age 56. link
Joan Benoit Samuelson, you are an inspiration to outdoorsy and efficient Maine women everywhere (I love her pictures—she does look like such a Mainer)