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It was 1977, and Lyn Licciardello wondered why men should get to have all the fun.
“My wonderful husband, Tom, had started distance running while I was pregnant with my second child,” recalls Licciardello. “He ran the Maryland Marathon in December, qualifying for the Boston Marathon. I brought our daughters, ages three and six months, to the races to support him.”
While there, she noticed two things. “First, that Tom was having a lot of fun before, during and after the events while I was taking care of the girls. But second – among all those men were a small handful of women!”
This was a revelation for Licciardello. When she was in high school, girls were not allowed to run, due to a prevailing belief that the female body couldn’t handle it. But times were changing. Women were running, and they were not only able to handle it, but they were able to thrive. Even though she didn’t know any other women who ran, Licciardello decide to take up the sport. All of her running partners were men. One of her training buddies, Barry, arrived at a training run with a magazine article he had clipped for her. Boston was going to host its first-ever 10K race for women.
“I was intrigued, since there were so few women runners at that time,” says Licciardello. Still she signed up and headed to the first-ever Bonne Belle Mini-Marathon for Women. What she thought would be a small race turned out to be a revelatory experience: “I was shocked to find myself in a sea of women running! There were 2,300 of us! What an empowering experience.”
The experience was so profound, Licciardello has returned to the race – now the Reebok Boston 10K for Women – for 42 years straight.
“It’s a touchstone for me, and I always realize how lucky I am to be healthy enough to do a 10K every year.”
Her favorite memory of the race is from 1996, when she ran the race for the twentieth time. That year, she was joined by two very special running buddies: her daughters Amy and Crissy. “As I crossed the finish line, there they were! These were the charming babies I had waved to as Tom drove me off to my first big road race. I thought to myself: ‘And now, they are here to share it all with me. And now, they know the joy! I am complete!’”
Crissy has joined her mother in building another impressive race own streak. This year will be her 23rd year at the Reebok Boston 10K for Women. An assortment of friends and family join them each year, and the festive group gathers at a local restaurant for a post-race party. For Licciardello, there is no better way to spend a fall day in Boston.
“It is such a pleasure to come back every year,” says Licciardello. “It is a fantastic celebration of women’s running.”
Registration for the Boston 10k remains open at: http://www.boston10kforwomen.com. Race day registration at Boston Common will be open from 7:30AM and continue until 11:30AM for the 12:00PM race.