The Women Runners Who Broke The Stereotypes Changed My Life

All hail Bobbi Gibb and Kathrine Switzer!

The author (middle right) at a track meet in high school.
The author (middle right) at a track meet in high school.

I love the peaceful resistance.

I love the living out of the truth that they knew inside them, despite the experts and society telling them the opposite.

I love the men and women—especially the men—who supported them (especially the men because they gained little by it—except, as you’ll catch if you read closely, the ones who hoped they could share their passion for running with their wives and girlfriends).

Here’s an excerpt from a link shared below:

A mile later, [Roberta] Gibb felt herself over-heating in her sweatshirt. She told her running partners that she wanted to toss it, but was worried about losing her cover. “Don’t worry, it’s a public road,” they said. “No one can stop you from running on it, and we won’t let anyone hurt you.”

The stories of Roberta Gibb and Katherine Switzer are not perfect because they are real stories. Their lives are not storybook because they are human lives. If I could write it, I’d have them be friends rather than two women doing the same thing, sharing the same love, effecting the same outcome, but being distracted by the spotlight. But that’s life. These women are not the only ones who lived out the truth, but they are the ones whose acting on it happened to intersect with a time and a place that gained them widespread attention and influence—the Boston Marathon, the height of masculine exertion and athletic achievement.

In another retelling of these events, Roberta Gibb wrote of the depression of the women in her mother’s generation, many of whom took prescription drugs to mask the disparity between their beliefs about themselves and who they really were. She tells of the joy and empowerment that these same women gained after running AROUND THE BLOCK after they realized that they could. It took brave, stubborn souls to show them what it was possible for them to do, what they COULD do but didn’t know it because they believed the messages that they were told!

Notice in the stories below, that they weren’t trying to accomplish anything other than to live out what they enjoyed. Gibb even went home right after running a marathon to look pretty while baking for the media, to prove that she really was a “real woman!”

I enjoy baking. I respect the women who make houses, homes, and who carry the essence of their families. The problem with our society of ONLY 50 YEARS AGO is that these were the only high achievements that women were thought to be capable of!

Kathrine Switzer and Roberta Gibb changed my life. These courageous women peacefully acted on what they knew to be the truth, and look where we are as a society today! I knew nothing of this past reality as a child athlete only 20 years later!

Here’s one account of Roberta Gibb’s story.
Here’s Kathrine Switzer’s similarly intriguing story.

And now, in 2016, I have running as my place of quietness, sanity and personal achievement, as a stay-at-home mother (by choice) to four gifted and strong young children, who holds a bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science, collegiate-level running memories, and experience in the business world. I get to run and write reviews of WOMEN’S running shoes, something that was unthinkable to my own grandma as a young mother, and I have an intelligent and hard-working husband who understands the priority for me to still be me.

The author with her family.
The author with her family.

Thank you, “Bobbi” Gibb and K.V. Switzer for spearheading the change of societal norms, and thank you to my husband, Dan, for embodying a strong man who uplifts his wife and cares for his children while living out his own passions.