|Photo credit: Runners World|
That was the headline of one of Monday's Runner's World articles. I was intrigued, clicked on the Facebook link, and began reading. I only know tiny snippets of the history of women's running - mainly from running documentaries and a few other articles here and there. I honestly didn't know anything about that early NYC marathon written about in the article and had never seen the picture. If you haven't read it yet, go read the article, and come back.
As an 80's baby, I grew up with the idea that women are equal to men. I was born after the ERA. My mother worked for a large oil company in an executive position throughout my childhood. I learned of the struggles of the women seeking equality in history class. At the time, I was pretty sure that I was smarter than a lot of the boys in that same history class - the notion that I would not be equal to them was not even considered.
The same ideals apply to when I started running. There was no one telling me women shouldn't or couldn't run distances. No reason to believe that I was unwelcome, as a woman, in any race I signed up for. I started running just before the women racing running boom really took off in the late 2000's, and never looked back.
I'm not saying we live in a Utopian society. There are still too many instances of gender inequality and we hear about actions taken and setbacks endured more often than anyone would like. Life is not fair. Though I like to think and hope that we are constantly striving to make it more so.
Seeing that picture and reading the story in the article, I am forever grateful to the women who went before me, both in "real life" and in running, that allow me to be the woman, and the runner, that I am today.
Thank you to those early women.