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Women's Running History

March 8th 2018 is International Women’s Day, a global celebration of social, economical, cultural, and political achievements of women. In light of this day, we found some facts about the women’s running history to share with you. Did you know that the reason women were banned from running marathons before the 1970’s was because it was felt that long distance running was too strenuous and therefore harmful to women?! Pardon the eye roll

Here we go!

  • 1954Sub 5 minute Mile: Roger Bannister was the first runner to run a sub 4 minute mile – a well known marker in running history. However, what you may not know is that 23 days later Diane Leather was the first women to run a sub 5 minute mile. Unfortunately, the International Association of Athletics Federation ( IAAF) wasn’t recognising any track records at a distance greater than 800m for women.They refused to acknowledge the record.
  • 1967 - The first women to run the Boston Marathon: Katherine Switzer, entered the Boston Marathon when only men were allowed. Under the alias of K.V. Switzer, she started the race with an official bib number but when found out mid way through the race, race organisers tried to pull her off the course. The story goes that her friends blocked him so that she could finish the race in a time of 4:20. She ran this race again last year, April 17th 2017 – with the same number she wore in 1967, number 261 – which they have retired in her honour.
  • 1977- The sports bra: Can you even imagine a day when there wasn’t one? It actually was only invented in 1970’s. Linda Lindahl and Polly Smith came up with the idea after complaining about the discomfort of ‘bouncing boobs’ and “why isn’t there a jockstrap for women”? It was only when Linda's husband was joking around with a jockstrap across his chest that gave them the idea – the jogbra – sewing two jock straps together! Thank goodness for that!
  • 1984 - The Olympic Marathon was slower to bring women into the picture. The longest distance that women could compete in running in the 1980 Summer Olympic Games in Moscow was only 1500m. Thankfully, the American college of sports medicine supported the fact that there was no evidence that long distance running was harmful to healthy women, and so in 1984, in Los Angeles, the first Olympic Marathon for women was held.
  • 2002 – Ultra Marathon Madness: Pam Reed wins Badwater Ultramarathon – a 135 mile course in Death Valley in the middle of July (hot!)
  • 2003 - Women's Marathon:  Paula Radcliffe sets the world record for a women's marathon in London with a time of 2:15:25
  • 2007 – Paula Radcliffe wins the New York City Marathon, 10 months after giving birth to her daughter

  • 2017 – Double Buggy World Record: Jessica Bruce, Founder of Run3D, breaks the world record at the Abingdon Marathon in Oxfordshire of a women running with a double buggy.
Women,  we salute you. 


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