LISA:Up until the early 1970s it was thought (by mostly men!) that women couldn’t physically handle the rigors of the 26.2 mile distance. Kathrine Switzer proved them wrong when she entered the all-male Boston Marathon in 1967 under the name K.V. Switzer. When one of the race directors saw her on the course and realized she was a girl, he ran after her, grabbed her and screamed, “Get the hell out of my race and give me that race number!” Fortunately friends came to her aid, freed her from his grasp and she went on to finish in 4 hours and 20 minutes. It wasn’t until the fall of 1971 that Boston officially opened the race to women and in 1972 eight women started the race and all eight finished. Compare that to today… in 2010, 42% of the 22,540 Boston marathon finishers were women! Oh my, how the attitudes about and opportunities for women in running – and in sports in general - have changed in my lifetime! Go Girls!
My girls, who are 10 and just starting their “sports years”, are blessed to reap the benefits of the last 40 years. Pioneers like Kathrine Switzer and the impact of Title IX have provided them opportunities galore. In just the last year my girls have played on soccer, baseball (against the boys), volleyball and basketball teams. They truly CAN DO almost anything they want to do. And I’m glad they’ll never know different. Go Girls!
Who knows what the future holds for women in sports. Maybe one day they’ll change the name of the epic Ironman triathlon competition to Ironwoman??? Just a thought! J But here’s what I do know… if my girls have kids (thus my grandkids) how cool will it be that I can tell those grandbabies that their GRANDMOTHER ran marathons?!?! But then again, by then there will be a whole generation of grandkids whose grandmothers have run marathons… and that’s awesome. Go Girls!
Photos: Niki and I are currently coaching our girls’ City Rec basketball team. Every game we have a different “theme” to help us remember that sports are FUN as well as competitive. Crazy Socks/Crazy Hair/Crazy Bandanas!