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First Ladies of Running: 22 Inspiring Profiles of the Rebels, Rule Breakers, and Visionaries Who Changed the Sport Forever

First Ladies of Running: 22 Inspiring Profiles of the Rebels, Rule Breakers, and Visionaries Who Changed the Sport Forever


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Today, millions of women and girls around the world enjoy running and entering races. It wasn’t always so:

* In 1961, when Julia Chase edged to the start of a Connecticut 5-miler, officials tried to push her off the road.
* At the 1966 Boston Marathon, Roberta Gibb hid behind a forsythia bush, worried that police might arrest her.
* The next year at Boston, Kathrine Switzer was assaulted mid-race by a furious race organizer.
* In the mid-60s, Indianapolis high schooler Cheryl Bridges was told not to run anywhere near the boys’ track team because she might “distract” them.
* When Charlotte Lettis signed up for the University of Massachusetts cross-country team in the fall of 1971, she was told to use the men’s locker room.
* A few years later in coastal Maine, young Joan Benoit would stop her workouts to pretend she was picking roadside flowers, embarrassed that her neighbors might spot her running.

First Ladies of Running tells the inspiring stories of these and other fiercely independent runners who refused to give up despite the cultural and sports barriers they faced. Legends such as Doris Brown, Francie Larrieu, Mary Decker, Jackie Hansen, Miki Gorman, and Grete Waitz are chronicled by Runner’s World editor Amby Burfoot. Burfoot even runs the 1994 Marine Corps Marathon with Oprah Winfrey, whose successful finish opened the floodgates for other women runners.

First Ladies of Running is a beautiful and long-overdue tribute to the pioneers of women’s running, and a gift of empowerment for female runners everywhere.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781609615642
Publisher: Harmony/Rodale
Publication date: 04/05/2016
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 272,592
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Amby Burfoot has been a Runner’s World editor since 1978. He won the 1968 Boston Marathon, has run more than 110,000 miles in his life, and is the author or co-author of six previous books. He lives in Mystic, Connecticut.

Table of Contents

Foreword Shalane Flanagan ix

Introduction xiii

Grace Butcher 1

Julia Chase 11

Doris Brown 23

Merry Lepper 33

Roberta "Bobbi" Gibb 43

Kathrine Switzer 55

Sara Mae Berman 67

Judy Ikenberry 77

Mary Decker 89

Nina Kuscsik 101

Francie Larrieu 111

Cheryl Bridges 123

Joan Ullyot 135

Charlotte Lettis 145

Jacqueline "Jackie" Hansen 155

Michiko "Miki" Gorman 167

Gayle Barron 177

Marilyn Bevans 187

Patti Catalano 197

Grete Waitz 207

Joan Benoit 219

Oprah Winfrey 231

Afterword: Where Are They Now? 241

More First Ladies 245

Timeline of Female Running History 253

Acknowledgments 258

Photo Credits 261

Index 263

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