Joan Benoit Samuelson to be honored on September 25th

AKRON, Ohio (Sept. 3, 2014) – The Akron Marathon, presented by Time Warner Cable, has announced that the 2014 Westfield Bank Ambassador Award honoree is Olympic gold medalist Joan Benoit Samuelson. This year marks the 30th anniversary of Samuelson’s victory in the inaugural women’s marathon at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. Samuelson is only the second female inductee into the Akron Marathon’s Ambassador program.

“Joan Benoit Samuelson is an exceptional and deserving recipient of this year’s Westfield Bank Ambassador Award,” said Akron Marathon Charitable Corporation Trustee Dave Hunter. “In addition to compiling one of the most outstanding careers in the history of women’s marathoning and road racing, Joan has transcended the sport to serve as an inspiring role model for women in all walks of life.”

Samuelson is well-known as a role model for women in the running industry, serving on several boards and committees for more than three decades. She has garnered several awards for her contributions, including Women’s Master Runner of the Year in 1998 from Road Runner’s Club of America, and was a 1999 inductee into the International Women’s Sports Foundation Hall of Fame. The Cape Elizabeth, Maine, native has also authored a book titled, Running for Women.

The seventh Ambassador Award will be presented at an invitation-only Mayor’s Reception on Thursday, Sept. 25 at Canal Park. New this year, Westfield Bank is serving as the presenting sponsor of the award. Past Ambassadors include Kathrine Switzer, Bill Rodgers, Amby Burfoot, Hal Higdon, Craig Masback and Creigh Kelley.

“Westfield Bank takes great pride in serving as the first presenting sponsor of the Ambassador Award,” said Westfield Bank Chairman Jon Park. “Personally, I am deeply honored to be able to recognize Joan Benoit Samuelson on the 30th anniversary of her historic victory during the XXIII Olympiad.”
The Akron Marathon, which consists of four events including the full and half marathon, the five-person team relay and the kids fun run, has grown by more than 10,000 participants since the inaugural event in 2003. The Marathon offers the community a health-focused, fun-filled occasion that draws thousands of participants and spectators each year. The 12th annual event will be held Sept. 27, 2014. Registration is available at