Everytime I come back from a large scale running event, I can't stop thinking on my ride back home about the amazing number of women running these days. Come evening, I am in the park with my kids- I see an amazing number of women who have no idea about what running feels like! Why don't they? No the world is not entitled to my opinion, I agree! But how would they know if they haven't tried?
Curiosity gets the better of me! I suddenly want to know about the women run-revolutionaries who changed the history of running for women around the world! Who was the first woman who ran for all of us? What is her cool story? Google to the rescue!
Roberta Louise Bobbi Gibb:
- The first woman to have run the entire Boston Marathon(1966). Before this, women weren’t allowed competitive running! Gibb was also not allowed to run this one! However, she did!
- Ran her first full marathon in boys’ shoes size 6 because there weren’t any running shoes for women at that time!!!! Did you know that???
- When she applied for the Boston Marathon, they sent her a letter back saying “Women aren’t allowed, and furthermore are not physiologically able.”
- That is when she decided to change the course of history! She wore her brother’s Bermuda shorts and a blue hooded sweatshirt to cover her ponytail - hid in some bushes near the start line.
- Through the run, she maintained a sub 3 hour pace. When only 2 miles were left, her feet started bleeding and blistering. She was hungry and thirsty. She knew this race would change the future of running for the women around the world. Today she says "So, I had to finish—and finish well.”
- Gibb’s run made the Boston Marathon authorities push for a rule change that would allow women to run marathons.
Fast forward to today, at 73, Gibb still runs! She is still athletic! She runs an hour a day! Beat that!
The Big Question : Why Should Women Run?
There are 1000s of health reasons why women should run, but I'll give you a few non-health reasons just in case!
Mood Booster: If you've been using a hot bottle to release yourself from your period pains every month - try running instead! The euphoria post a run is a great mood elevator and takes away all the cramps and soreness from the body! Go slow!
You'll find a happy tribe of your own: Having another woman or a group of women to run with on a regular basis really is happiness! You don't need to discuss school, kids, home or even work. Just a bunch of good friends who connect on a long winding road of passion and fun. You'll find plenty of motivation. Your running buddies will keep the blues away from your life!
A New You? - I know of a lot of women who took up running at that time of their lives when things weren't going well for them. A tough situation with the husband, raising kids,a lack of self-esteem, low on fitness, health issues - whatever - but they were facing an abyss in some part of their lives. Running changed things for them. It made them stronger, assertive and cleared the fog. Why? because running is about making a plan, beating yourself to achieving your target. The positives just happen to spill in ones personal life too.
A Great toned and fit Body - This one is relative if you compare yourself to Steffi Graff 🙂 So don't do that but remember running regularly is awesome for a fit and toned body. You don't have to get into the competitive mode to get that shape. But yes do push yourself to either longer distances or faster speeds for results. No weight issues, no extra fat and a great toned look!! Howzaat???
I thank Gibbs for letting millions of women all around the world enjoy the love of running on streets, on dirt trails, on tracks, in events, wherever and whenever! Even though 50 years have gone by we are still fighting cheap stares, horrible remarks on the road, biases etc. but yes we have come a long way!
Thank you Gibbs for bleeding, blistering and finishing your first run strong enough to make everlasting changes!
For all the girls and mommas and girlfriends out there, run or walk a 5 or a 10 km, but accept the challenge, feel the change and adopt the change!
Already into running? Pull a friend who doesn't! Together let's feel the wind in our hair and the rhythm in our feet!