Olympics for Men OnlyThe renowned Olympics was for men only,intentionally excluding women. Stamatis Rovith, the first recorded woman to run a marathon, ran the course from Marathon to Athens; however, she was denied the opportunity to compete in the olympic event. The first official Women's Olympic Marathon Event will come 88 years later. Photo Credits
Boston Marathon for Men OnlyThe Boston Marathon started in 1897, inspired by the success of the first marathon competition in the 1896 Summer Olympics. It is the world's oldest annual marathon and ranks in the top six of the World's Major Marathons. Women were not allowed to enter the Boston Marathon officially until 1972. Photo Credits
Women allowed in Amsterdam Summer Olympics 1928In 1928, women were allowed to participate in 5 Olympic track and field events. The IOC dropped the Women’s 800M after these Olympics claiming it was too strenuous. Although it was raced in other competitions, the 800M did not return to the Olympics until 1960. Photo: Helen Meany, Elta Cartwright, and Lina Radke
IOC Approves Women 800MIOC (International Olympic Committee) approved the Women 800M to the Olympic program. This race was the first step in the progression of adding distance events, leading up to the first women's marathon in 1984.
At this time, it was believed if women participated in events over 800M it would damage their reproductive organs and their uterus could fall out preventing them from having children. Photo Credits:
Merry LepperMerry Lepper, an American ran the Western Hemisphere Marathon in Culver City, VA in the time of 3:37:07. However, competitive times were not recorded because there was not a women's division. Photo Credits
Sports Illustrated Cover Female Track AthletesFirst female track athletes from the U.S. to grace the cover of Sports Illustrated. Women's looks were criticized when crossing the finish line; this inspired Coach Margaret Ellison to take beauty plus winning to a new level which inspired more women to become involved with running programs. Photo: Janis Rinehart, Paula Walter, and Jeanne Ellison Biggs.
First Female to run Boston Marathon, Bobbi GibbWomen were banned from running the Boston Marathon, however that did not stop Bobbi Gibb from jumping into the race immediately after it started. She's an icon and trailblazer for distance running. She was retroactively awarded medals for her first place in ’66,’67, and ’68, and was inducted into the Boston Marathon Hall of Fame. Photo Credits
First Registered Female to run Boston Marathon, Kathrine SwitzerIn 1967, Kathrine Switzer finished wearing a race number obtained by pretending she was a man on her race application, using only her first and middle initials. She became the face of women's running when photos were released of race director Jock Semple attempting to pull her off the course. https://www.mtholyoke.edu/media/sports-equality-champ-and-marathoner-speaks
Boston Marathon allows WomenIn 1972, officially women were allowed to compete in the Boston Marathon.
It is the world's oldest annual marathon and ranks in the top six of the World's Major Marathons. Photo Credits
IAAF Supports Womens MarathonThe IAAF officially recommended to the IOC that a women's marathon be included in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. The first women's marathon officially sanctioned by the IAAF was the Tokyo International, held in November of 1979. IAAF president Adriaan Paulen was impressed by the level of competition in Tokyo that he announced he would fully support the effort to institute a women's marathon in the Olympics. Photo Credits
American College of Sports Medicine Report on Women Distance RunningAmerican College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) issues a statement saying that “there exists no conclusive scientific or medical evidence that long-distance running is contraindicated for the healthy, trained female athlete. The ACSM recommends that females be allowed to compete at the national and international level in the same distances in which their male counterparts compete.” The earlier ideas about damaging reproductive organs was proved to be false. Photo Credit
IOC Approves Womens Marathon for 1984 OlympicsThe Executive Board of IOC announced that a womens marathon had been given its approval and would likely be included in the 1984 Summer Games.
In September of 1981, the IOC met in Baden-Baden, Germany and voted to allow the ruling federations for each Olympic sport to set their own requirements for Olympic eligibility, clearing the way for marathoners. Women had won the right to compete in an Olympic Marathon.
LA Summer Olympics Women Marathon Debut 1984It was the first Olympic Womens Marathon.The 50 competitors came from 28 countries. 44 finished the race. The world record holder Joan Benoit of the USA won the gold medal, with the silver medal going to the 1983 World champion Greta Waitz of Norway, and bronze to Rosa Mota of Portugal.
Joan Benoit's win changed the world's view of women's limitations. Photo Credits
Saudi Arabia Represented in Rio Olympic Marathon 2016Sarah Attar made history in 2012 London Olympics representing one of two female Olympians from Saudi Arabia, and again in 2016 Rio Olympics for completing the women's marathon. Photo Credits
Rio Summer Olympics Women Marathon 2016Jemima Sumgong celebrates her victory Gold, the first by a Kenyan woman in the Olympic marathon.
Silver went to Eunice Jepkirui Kirwa, and Bronze went to Mare Dibaba.
All three Americans placed in the top ten finishers. Photo Credits
Women's Marathon Running TodayAs of today, over 57% of marathon finishers are women. Marathon running is not only for men or elite female athletes, but is a sport enjoyed alone, with a club, or in a group. Women on the run has become the norm. Photo Credits