March is Women’s history month and in honor of that, here is a very short list of some significant events in the history of women’s running. For more complete lists of achievements please visit the links below.
1928 – Women first allowed to compete in Olympic Track & Field events. Reports of fainting after the 800 meter final cause the event to be dropped until 1960.
1936 – Two women enter the 13-mile uphill Pike’s Peak race.
1959 – Arlene Pieper runs the full 26-mile Pike’s Peak up-and-down course in 9:16.
1966 – Roberta Gibb “unofficially” runs the Boston Marathon with a time of 3:21:40.
1967 – Kathrine Switzer runs the Boston Marathon with an “official” number.
1970 – The Road Runners Club of America holds first championship marathon for women (won by Sara Mae Berman in 3:07:10).
1971 – Adrienne Beames becomes the first woman to run a marathon in under 3 hours with a time of 2:46:30.
1971 – Boston & New York City marathons officially open for women.
1972 – U.S. Congress passes Title IX prohibiting gender based discrimination in federally funded programs.
1977 – Lisa Lindahl and Hinda Miller create world’s first sports bra created by combining two male athletic supporters and a bit of thread
1984 – Women’s marathon added to Olympic Games and won by American Joan Benoit Samuelson in 2:24:52.
2003 – Pam Reed draws attention to women in ultra running by becoming the overall winner in the 135-mile Badwater Ultra Marathon.
For More Info
Interested in more history about women’s running? Try these sources for starters:
- “Desert Diva: Pam Reed’s Run into the Record Books,” Running Times, December 2003.
- Women Walkers & Runners: A Timeline, from Run the Planet.
- “History of Women’s Distance Running,” from Run Like a Girl.