This Friday Five post is all about some special women in running history. It’s certainly not all inclusive–that would take volumes! As the 50th anniversary of Bobbi Gibb’s amazing marathon debut approaches next week, I’ve been thinking of Gibbs and so many women who have shown courage and character in the face of adversity. This list is just a few of the many women who’ve made running what it is today.
Bobbi Gibb: Fifty years ago, she jumped out of the bushes, in a swimsuit, hoodie and boy shorts no less, and onto the Boston Marathon course. AND ran a 3:21. Proving once and for all that women wouldn’t break. Everyone talks about the next woman on my list, but Gibb’s courage, chutzpah, and persistence. Awe-inspiring.
Katherine Switzer: A year later, in 1967, as we’ve all heard, Switzer ran with an official bib and almost got pushed off the course by a race official. A move that took guts and grit.
Paula Radcliffe: Current world marathon record holder. On April 13, 2003 she set the world record of 2:15:25. 13 years later it still holds. And, now, she’s my age. Sheesh. Talk about setting the bar high.
Wilma Rudolph: First American woman to win three gold medals in one Olympics in the 1960 Rome Olympics in the 100m, 200m and 4×100 relay. I’m a sprinter at heart, and once upon a time, these were my events. If only I was half as fast as her!!
#5: I think that collectively runners now (those around the world, those I run with and myself included) all combine to make a “giant” force in the running community–the next running boom, as some have called it–pushing our own boundaries and moving ahead because of the “giants” in history who forged the way before us. Those women all started out as average people who just had an idea to run. And run fast. And they did.
Any other special women runners stand out to you? And why?