Friday, 17 September 2010

maintaining the purity of the sport of distance running

Posted by speedygeoff on Friday, September 17, 2010 with 2 comments
Kathrine Switzer - although not the first woman to complete the Boston Marathon - that was Roberta "Bobbi" Gibb who ran unofficially in 1966 and clocked 3:27:17 - was the first woman to run the race with an official number issued by the Boston Athletic Association. Entered only as "K.V. Switzer" in 1967, her ruse was discovered by a race official, Jock Semple, whose attempt to bodily remove her from the course was captured in this now-famous photo.

"Forty years ago April 19, Jock Semple tried to throw me out of the Boston Marathon because I was a woman", said Switzer, when she was launching her biography three years ago. "In the few years since then, women's running has grown to the point where there are now more women participating in races than men, and the women marathoners have become the biggest stars of the sport. This is nothing short of a social revolution and it has been a privilege being a part of making it happen; my memoir reflects much of this inspiring history."

These men thought they were "maintaining the purity of the sport of distance running" by banning women. To think this happened in my lifetime; how embarrassing! And there are still a few ancient marathoners, all much older than me I hope, who appear to remain resentful of the fact that women are such good long distance runners, and who prefer the old times when it was a men-only sport.

Kathrine Switzer's biography is called "Marathon Woman: Running the Race to Revolutionize Women's Sports". I should order it from Amazon one day...  There was also (I think) a Bobbi Gibb biography called "Good Girls Don't Run", and another called "To Boston With Love", but they are presumably out of print.

Training at Parliament House last night. There were eleven at our first Thursday PH training:  Andrew, Brett, Cathy, Colleen, Craig, me, Jennifer, Joel, Kym, Nadine & Yelena. We repeated Monday's effort. All but Colleen had run on Monday as well. Once again the women ran strongly with Nadine, Kym & Jennifer covering the most ground for the 30 minute session. A strong wind was blowing above the house on the hill but we were well sheltered.

Next week, both Monday and Thursday at Parliament House, we commence some anaerobic training as a lead-up to track, which starts in only four weeks' time.

Results: speedygeese at the BBQ Stakes on Wednesday 15/9
Gary 26:27
Helen 27:47
Kerrie 30:15
Vicky 30:56
Caroline 39:49


  1. You'd have a very small flock of geese without women runners ;-)

  2. And imagine if we encouraged Melanie's group back!

    That's an amazing photo.