Lisa Rainsberger

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Lisa Larsen Rainsberger, previously known as Lisa Larsen Weidenbach, (born May 7, 1961) is a distance runner. As of 2014, she is the last American woman to have won the Boston Marathon. She is a member of the University of Michigan Track and Field and Road Runners of America Halls of Fame.[1] Her marathon times were among the top ten in 1984 and 1987-1994.[2] As of 2008, she was listed four times in the top 100 all-time US women's marathon performances, with a best time of 2:28:15.[3]

While in high school in Battle Creek, Michigan, Rainsberger won competitions as a swimmer in the Individual Medley, qualifying for the 1980 Olympic Swimming trials, and later competed on scholarship as an All-American swimmer in college at the University of Michigan. She walked away from that scholarship to earn another as a collegiate runner and was a two-time All American in track and cross country.

In 1984, she ran the inaugural women’s Olympic marathon trials where she finished fourth, missing a spot in the Olympic games.[4] In 1985, she won the Boston Marathon in a time of 2:34:06.[5] The highest that American women have placed at Boston since Rainsberger's 1984 win is Desiree Davilla's 2011 second place finish and Kara Goucher’s 2009 third place finish.[6][7] Rainsberger finished first back-to-back in the Chicago Marathon in 1988 (2:29:17) and 1989 (2:28:15), something no American woman has repeated since.[citation needed] She had run in numerous other distance races on the track and road, in the United States and abroad (notably Japan's Hokkaido Marathon).

Rainsberger ended her 12-year career of professional competition after a final attempt to become a professional triathlete and training for the Olympics. She now focuses on her family and coaching.


Year Competition Venue Position Event Notes
Representing the  United States
1985 Boston Marathon Boston, United States 1st Marathon 2:34:06
1988 Chicago Marathon Chicago, United States 1st Marathon 2:29:17
1989 Chicago Marathon Chicago, United States 1st Marathon 2:28:15
1990 Hokkaido Marathon Sapporo, Japan 1st Marathon 2:31:29
1993 Twin Cities Marathon Minneapolis, United States 1st Marathon 2:33:38
  • 1980-84 University of Michigan three sport NCAA All-American (swimming, cross country, track & field); Cross Country Team Captain
  • 1984 Montreal Marathon champion
  • 1985 Boston Marathon champion
  • 1985 USAT&F Runner of the Year
  • 1986-89 Crim 10 Mile champion, 52:32
  • 1988 US Olympic Marathon Team Trials, 4th, Alternate
  • 1988 US Olympic Track & Field Trials 10k, 32:12
  • 1988, 1989 Chicago Marathon champion, 2:29:12 and 2:28:15
  • 1989, 1990 Cherry Blossom 10 Mile champion, 52:30
  • 1989 American Record 15k, 48:28
  • 1989 USAT&F Runner of the Year
  • 1989 Runner's World Runner of the Year
  • 1991 Bloomsday 12k champion
  • 1990 Hokkaido Marathon champion
  • 1990, 1991 Sapporo, Japan Half Marathon champion
  • 1993 Twin Cities Marathon champion
  • 1995, 1996 Kyoto, Japan Half Marathon 2nd place
  • 1996 US Olympic Marathon Trials Qualifier
  • 1997 Lawrence Triathlon - 1st
  • 1997 USA Triathlon Nationals - 5th
  • 1997 Mrs. T's Triathlon Pro - 5th

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