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Vital Women; Bobbi Gibb

In light of it being International Women's day this week, we wanted to celebrate a truly vital woman who wasn't ready to accept defeat. Bobbi Gibb was the first woman to run the Boston Marathon, in 1966, five years before women were officially allowed to enter the event. 

A keen runner throughout her childhood, Gibb set about training for the 1966 event after watching the men’s race two years earlier. She submitted her application only to be told that women were not allowed to compete. It was believed at the time, that women were not physically able to run the 26.2 miles and the liability was too great. Not taking no for answer, she took a week-long bus ride from San Diego to Massachusetts intent on running the race.

Kitted out in her brother’s Bermuda shorts, a swimsuit, and a hoodie to disguise herself as the only woman on the starting line, she didn’t only complete the race, but placed in the top third of an otherwise entirely male field. “I was actually running way slower than I wanted to,” she later admitted. “I was saving my energy because I knew that the worst thing that could happen would be if I didn’t finish. I had this huge weight of responsibility on me. Here I was, making this very public statement. If I had collapsed or hadn’t finished, I would have set women back another 50 years, or maybe longer.”

A year later in 1967, she finished almost one hour ahead of the only other female entrant - it wasn’t until 1971 that the Amateur Athletic Union changed its rules and began to sanction women's division marathons.

Now 72 years of age, Bobbi still runs for one hour each day. At various points in her life, she has worked as a horse-riding instructor, a sculptor, a lawyer, and an associate in a neuroscience laboratory. She’s written a book about inflation, one about economics and is currently writing a children’s book whilst collaborating on a film project about her inspirational story. She’s also a mother, which she says is “the best thing” she ever did.

To add to all that we think she's a real babe.


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