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History of Women’s Running

Retrieved from espn.go.com

Retrieved from espn.go.com

In the 1950’s women were held back from running due to messaging that claimed running would hurt their reproductive health. Over the years it was found that this was only a myth and research did not back up these claims (Bunce, 2014). Bunce (2014) says, “As more and more women participate and succeed in sports, more women are also put into power in the sports world,” (p. 1). This demonstrates the importance that women’s running has on the lives of women.

In 1960, after 32 years of women being banned, the women’s 800-meter race was reintroduced in the Summer Olympics (The History of Women’s Running, n.d.). However, even with this groundbreaking moment for women in the sport, all was not overcome. In 1967, Kathrine Switzer was the first woman to run the Boston Marathon. But it almost did not happen. At mile four, race director, Jock Semple, tried to knock her off the course. Semple yelled at Switzer, “Get the hell out of my race and give me those numbers!” (Switzer, 2007, p. 168). Semple charged at Switzer and repeatedly tried to knock her off the course while her two male companions fought him off. Semple was outraged at the audacity of a woman running in “his” race (Switzer, 2007, p. 169). It was not until 1972 that the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) allowed women to register for marathons, but they were required to start at separate time. Since then women have entered running in increasingly large numbers (The History of Women’s Running, n.d.).

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