1972 - women were permitted to run the Boston Marathon
On 17th April 1972, women were for the first time officially permitted to run the Boston Marathon. The race had been held since 1897.
Eight women lined up including Nina Kuscsik who had campaigned in the Amateur Athletic Union for women to be permitted to run longer distances, Sara Mae Berman who had been the fastest unofficial female runner in the 3 previous years, and Kathrine Switzer who had managed to enter in 1967 using her initials. The first woman to run Boston was Bobbi Gibb in 1966.
Kuscsik, who had also run the previous year, was named as the favourite by the media who generally referred to her as a "Long Island housewife". She won in 3:10:26 and later that year won the New York Marathon too.
Photo: Boston Globe, 17th April 1972, Kuscsik and Switzer (then Miller), Newspapers.com
Miriam Diaz-Gilbert is an ultrarunner in her sixties who has been running competitively for over 30 years. Since taking up ultrarunning in 2005, she’s run 50 mile, 100 mile and 24-hour races. In her blog Miriam interviews ultrarunners and older athletes and reviews running books. I like this article about how she trained for and ran a 24 hour track ultra.
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Imagine a time when women did not run in road races. Imagine a time when women were told distance running would harm their health. Imagine a time when running in a marathon meant risking being jeered at or even assaulted. Read about the women who broke the rules and ran marathons in the 1960s, setting world best times.
Nancy Hobbs is a 60-year-old mountain and trail runner from the USA who has been running since her twenties. In this interview in the Age-old Runners series by Liza Howard, she talks about how she looks at racing now and sets herself different goals. Photo: Richard Bolt/iRunFar.com