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Marathon History

Marathon Factoids For You To Ponder

I've been reading Tim Noakes book, "The Lore of Running" and came across some interesting history on the subject of women runners. 

Marathon History

Violet Percy and Merry Lepper

The first woman recorded to have run a marathon is Violet Percy. She ran The "Polytechnic Marathon" course from Windsor to London in 1926, finishing in 3 Hours and 40 minutes. 

Marathon History

The next recorded female Marathon wasn't until 1963 when Merry Lepper competed in the Western Hemisphere Marathon in Culver city California. 

She hid among the spectators on the sidelines until the race started, then jumped in with the competitors. When an irate official tried to physically remove her from the race, she punched him and took off, finishing the race in 3 hours and 37 minutes. 

Marathon History

Roberta Gibb & Katherine Switzer

Roberta Gibb completed the Boston Marathon in 3 hours and 21 minutes in 1966. It was an unofficial time since the race organizer insisted that she merely covered the same route while the race was in progress.

Marathon History 

The following year Gibb completed the race in 3:27, but little mention of it was made due the the hoopla over Katherine Switzer, who registered under the name K. Switzer and stood among the competitors with a hooded sweatshirt. When it was discovered that a woman was running with the men, race officials tried to pull her off the course. 

Fortunately, Switzer's boyfriend was football player who interceded with a body block. She was expelled from the Amateur Athletic union for exceeding the allowable distance for women.
Marathon History
In the 60's it was the general view that too much exercise would interfere with reproduction, hence women were discouraged from physical exercise.
It was during this time that women were not allowed to run more that 800 meters. 1968 ushered in new rules allowing women to run 8 kilometers.

Running a Marathon is a physical ordeal but ultimately it is a spiritual challenge. It is the spirit that commands your body, irrespective of gender.

Marathon History
Warmest Regards,
Dr. Steve Smith - Your friendly, neighborhood Pasadena Chiropractor

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