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 2016, 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 the US 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. She coaches members of the Army's world class athlete program.[8][9]


Year Competition Venue Position Event Notes
Representing the  United States
1984 US Olympic Marathon Trial Olympia, Washington, United States 4th Marathon 2:33.10
1985 Boston Marathon Boston, United States 1st Marathon 2:34:06
1988 Pittsburgh Marathon (US Olympic Trial) Pittsburgh, United States 4th Marathon 2:31:06
Chicago Marathon Chicago, United States 1st Marathon 2:29:17
1989 Chicago Marathon Chicago, United States 1st Marathon 2:28:15
1990 London Marathon London, England 3rd Marathon 2:28:16
Hokkaido Marathon Sapporo, Japan 1st Marathon 2:31:29
1992 Houston Marathon (US Olympic Trial) Houston, United States 4th Marathon 2:33:32
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
  • 1985 Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run, champion 53:30
  • 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

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Rainsberger Athletics". Retrieved January 19, 2010. 
  2. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on January 2, 2010. Retrieved 2010-01-19.  Retrieved January 19, 2010.
  3. ^ "Top 100 All-Time U.S. Performances". Archived from the original on April 24, 2008. Retrieved January 19, 2010. 
  4. ^ Powers, John (April 13, 2007). "Before US drought came a worthy reign". The Boston Globe. 
  5. ^ Bickelhaupt, Susan (April 14, 2005). "It's a fun run this time". The Boston Globe. 
  6. ^ Patrick, Dick (April 21, 2009). "Americans Goucher and Hall finish third at Boston Marathon". USA Today. 
  7. ^ Thompson, Rich (April 18, 2010). "Regression, then revival". Retrieved May 10, 2016. 
  8. ^
  9. ^

External links[edit]