Rainsberger (right) being congratulated for her victory in the 1985 Boston Marathon by First Lady of Boston Kathy Flynn, while Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis looks on
Rainsberger (right) being congratulated for her victory in the 1985 Boston Marathon by First Lady of Boston Kathy Flynn, while Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis looks on

Lisa Larsen Rainsberger, previously known as Lisa Larsen Weidenbach, (born May 7, 1961) is a distance runner. 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]

Early life

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.

Professional career

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] An American did not win the Boston Marathon again until 2018, 33 years later, when Desiree Linden ran to victory.[6] 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,[7][8] and her daughter, Katie Rainsberger, who is a champion in her own right.[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

See also


Lisa's daughter, Katie Rainsberger, secured the United States' girls' high school 5K cross country record with a time of 16:23.40, set in 2016. It was surpassed in 2018 by Katelyn Tuohy.[9]


  1. ^ "Rainsberger Athletics". Retrieved January 19, 2010.
  2. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on January 2, 2010. Retrieved 2010-01-19.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) 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. ^ "Boston Marathon: Desiree Linden becomes first American woman to win Boston Marathon since 1985". BBC. April 16, 2018. Retrieved 2018-04-16.
  7. ^ "Lisa Rainsberger Commemorates 1985 Boston Marathon Victory". coloradotriathlete.com.
  8. ^ "Rainsberger Athletics". traininggoals.com.
  9. ^ a b Footsteps: Lisa and Katie , Rainsberger are Colorado’s distance running duo, Mile High Sports, Dan Mohrmann, May 7, 2016. Retrieved September 25, 2018.