06/14/13 5:00pm

JULIE LANE PHOTO | Former Olympians Bill Rodgers and Joan Benoit Samuelson answered questions from young athletes in the Shelter Island Runners Club during a WLNG radio interview at Fiske Field on Friday afternoon.

Former Olympians Joan Benoit Samuelson and Bill Rodgers have committed to running the 2014 Boston Marathon along with other former Olympians include Frank Shorter because “Our sport is a celebration of life,” Mr. Rodgers said. He was speaking to the WLNG-FM radio audience Friday during a two-hour program advancing Saturday’s Shelter Island 10K.

Ms. Benoit Samuelson will be running with a 45-minute pace group Saturday while Mr. Rodgers will be leading a 50-minute pace group.

The radio interview started at Fiske Field, but low temperatures and a brisk wind forced the Olympians into an SUV. They emerge toward the end of the program to meet with members of the Shelter Island Runners’ Club, coached by Toby Green.

“Did it ever snow at the 10K?” Ms. Benoit Samuelson joked, before turning her attention to the more serious subject of the bombings that marred the Boston Marathon, killing three people and injuring 264, many seriously.

Both said the bombings in Boston and the necessity of cancelling the New York Marathon this year in the wake of Superstorm Sandy won’t effect the spirit of runners.

Ms. Benoit Samuelson described the day of the Boston Marathon as “beautiful” and said she had finished her race and was  back in her hotel when the first explosion happened. Her husband “intuitively” knew it was a bomb, she said.

Mr. Rodgers remembered it was the same kind of weather that New York experienced on September 11, 2001, before the World Trade Center was struck by terrorists.

Both they and Dr. Frank Adipietro, who hosted the radio talk, sported bracelets that read, “We run as one — 2013 Boston Marathon.”

Mr. Rodgers predicted that next year’s Boston Marathon would swell to 100,000 runners with so many people determined to run. New York typically attracts about 42,000 runners, he said.

“This was a day when tragedy trumped triumph, but it will inspire us to good deeds,” Ms. Benoit Samuelson said.

“We’re in the healing phase now and there’s no question that we will persist and go on,” Dr. Adipietro said. He ran in Boston this year while his wife, Shelter Island 10k director Mary Ellen Adipietro was in the grandstand at the finish line with students from Newtown, Connecticut, who had survived shootings there this year. He talked about a period when he didn’t know if she was all right or not, but the former nurse was busy getting the children out of harm’s way in case there were additional blasts.

“Boston won’t be forgotten,” Ms. Benoit Samuelson said. “It will be a formidable part of our sport going forward.”

Both Olympians talked about their careers in the sport and told students in the Shelter Island running club that they were inspired by family to get into the sport. For Mr. Rodgers, it was his brother Charlie who got him into running.

Ms. Benoit Samuelson said she grew up with three brothers and “It was survival of the fittest.” But at first, she thought it would be skiing that would consume her interest. Following an accident that required rehabilitation, she started running and discovered that it was a sport that could be pursued anywhere, anytime.

She said not everyone with an interest in running needs to be a marathoner. Each runner should find his or her own pace and driving force, she said.

How did she feel being the first woman to win an Olympic Gold Medal in the marathon when she placed first in the 1984 Los Angeles games?

“I’m still pinching myself,” she said. But she said she was in the right place at the right time and kept her goal in mind.

Both Olympians said they look forward to returning to Shelter Island and love the spirit of the community here.