Frank Shorter pulled away just beyond nine miles to take gold in the 1972 Munich Olympics. And at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, Joan Benoit Samuelson took the lead early on as well, at Mile 3 in the first Olympic women’s marathon, heading to her historic victory.
“I tell people all the time, you need to run your own race,” Benoit said Sunday. “That’s what Mary did; if you play into somebody else’s hands, especially early on, it can foul your plans.”
Benoit’s decision to take the lead was spontaneous.
“I didn’t want to take the lead that early, but I knew what I was capable of running, and I went with it,” she said. “You’ve got to go with what you know.”
It has grown less common for women to risk taking off alone in the New York City Marathon, especially after the race switched to the separate start for the women’s professional field in 2002.
In a pack, runners can take turns keeping a pace and…