There are many female runners that I admire. The sheer power that oozes from their bodies is a thing of inspiration. The first time I watched the 2012 Olympic 4×100 Relay, I cried from excitement. Re-watching it still spikes my adrenaline. Here’s a link to the youtube recap:
There’s the obvious choice of Kathrine Switzer, the infamous first woman to run the Boston Marathon with numbers. She says in her biography regarding the sign up:
We checked the rule book and entry form; there was nothing about gender in the marathon. I filled in my AAU number, plunked down $3 cash as entry fee, signed as I always sign my name, “K.V. Switzer,” and went to the university infirmary to get a fitness certificate. (source)
There were 741 runners in the 1967 Boston Marathon. A few miles in, race director Jock Stemple noticed Kathrine’s gender and assaulted her, screaming famously, “Get the hell out of my race and give me those numbers!” Kathrine’s coach Arnie and boyfriend Tom were also running the race. Arnie screamed back at Jock and when he wouldn’t cease trying to rip the numbers of Kathrine’s body, Tom body-checked Jock hard enough that he flew to the side of the road. Kathrine describes feeling humiliated, terrified they were going to get arrested, and finally, enraged. She finished the race with bloodied feet, (way ahead of her boyfriend) to a crowd of a few people and several more reporters.
Above is another woman that ran before my time. Florence Griffith Joyner was the dominating female sprinter of the 1980’s. She was famous for her custom designed running spandex and long nails. She was extensively tested for steroid use but was always found clean. Flo Jo died at age 38 from a seizure. The above photo shows her running the 200m at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, South Korea. My favorite quote from Flo Jo is as follows:
“When anyone tells me I can’t do anything… I’m just not listening any more.”
Finally, the woman that inspired me when I was little: Uta Pippig. This unstoppable German woman won her third Boston Marathon on Patriot’s Day in 1996 with a time of 2:27:12.6 and a menstruation situation throughout. I was all eyes when I was little- I wanted to run the Boston Marathon because of Uta Pippig. She ran through discomfort and absolutely dominated.