Sports & Gaming

Beyond the Finish Line

Joan Benoit Samuelson

Lesson time 05:44 min

To close the class, Joan reflects on how her career as a runner has changed, and perhaps more important, how it hasn’t. She inspires members to share their love of running with their families and pay it forward in the running community.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: Pay It Forward: Beach to Beacon - Looking Forward


[MUSIC PLAYING] JOAN BENOIT: There are not many runners who have enjoyed six decades of running. And I've been truly fortunate to run for so many years and still remain as passionate as I was when I discovered the sport as a teenager. Many years ago, 30 plus years ago, as a Nike athlete, Nike wanted to use me in a campaign entitled There is No Finish Line. I was a new mother of two young children, and I still had aspirations and goals in the sport. And so I agreed to go out on a country road in Maine to shoot this ad. And a couple of years passed before I realized what that adage meant, and I sort of discovered it on my own. Every time I crossed a finish line, I was able to set a new goal for myself. Regardless of the distance, of the race, where that finish line was, there was always another goal I set for myself, or another purpose to run another race, or another benchmark to hit in my career, and that has kept me going all these years. [MUSIC PLAYING] One of the races I spectate is the race I founded in my hometown of Cape Elizabeth, Maine. And that was my opportunity to give back to a sport and a community that had given so much to me, and I believe in paying it forward. And I love watching the elite athletes cross the finish line, and oftentimes, it's a really close and exciting race. And then you see all the recreational runners come across, and then you see the runners who are just trying to cover the 10K distance. And a lot of these people came off the sidelines because they were inspired by watching earlier races and they want to test themselves by going the distance. And you see the faces of these people cross the finish line, and oftentimes, they break out in tears because they never thought they could do it. And they do it. And they surprise themselves, and they feel good about themselves, and it gives them reasons to celebrate, and it gives them reason to continue in the sport. And I think that's why running is such a unique, all-inclusive sport. And I think every runner who runs in a race has a story of inspiration to share with other runners. And I think this is really seen in marathons, when people are packed in and running side by side for extended periods of time. So for me, there's nothing more inspiring to hear some of these heart-wrenching, gut-wrenching stories of runners who have overcome challenges, or obstacles, or illnesses, or events that have brought them into the sport of running. I still have goals in the sport of running. I'm dealing with probably the biggest injury that's ever confronted me. I'm trying to be patient. I'm trying to practice the virtues that I share with others. And I will forever be involved in the sport because it's been such a big part of my life. And if I can impart wisdom, and if I can impart the joy of running, and if I can impart the goals that I still have, which are still to run another marathon in a fairly fast manner, and to now have an oppo...

About the Instructor

Winner of the very first women’s Olympic marathon, Joan Benoit Samuelson has spent her life breaking records and paving the way for female runners around the world. Now she’s teaching her personal philosophy and approach to running. Whether you’re an experienced runner or have been thinking about getting started, you’ll learn how to get motivated, set goals, and achieve victory in running and in life.

Featured Masterclass Instructor

Joan Benoit Samuelson

Long-distance legend Joan Benoit Samuelson teaches her personal approach to running so you can go further in running and in life.

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