Boston Marathon Is All About Women’s Rights

Katherine Switzer assaulted at Boston Marathon 1967

The First Woman To Run The Boston Marathon

I had to sue in 1966 for the right to run more than 1 1/2 miles.  Back then, the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) claimed falsely that any woman running further than that would die, the poor dears.  I proved I could run far further than that and in the desert, cross country, no less.  Meanwhile, thanks to the Civil Rights Act, other young women who were older than I were setting out to prove this, too.  And this led to a series of confrontations with race organizers who wanted to exclude women.


The confrontations on behalf of full civil rights for women happened with the Boston Marathon.  Women wishing to run had to disguise themselves as men or have men sign up and then hand over the identity number to the woman trying to run while not being allowed in the race.  This led to some confrontations with the race organizers who believed women were inferior and weak.


Roberta Gibb – Endurance Blog – ESPN:  Bobbi Gibb and Sara Mae Berman were the Grand Marshalls in yesterday’s run.  This was to honor them for breaking the sex barrier and their tireless efforts at integrating sports.


Conventional wisdom held that running was dangerous for women and could affect fertility. That didn’t worry Sara Mae Berman. By the time she started running she had three kids. Her husband was her coach and her biggest supporter. He told her she could be a pioneer.


“(Roberta) was a pioneer, I was a pioneer, all of the early women marathoners, we were all pioneers,” says Berman.


These days, thousands of women run Boston, owing no small debt to these two pioneers who are beyond glad that both attitudes and clothing have changed so much in 40 years.


Katherine Switzer also ran back then and was one of The First Women To Run The Boston Marathon, too.  She also had to fight discrimination against women studying to be a medical doctor, too.  She was assaulted by one of the race authorities when she tried to break the barrier.


Bobbi Gibb – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Gibb trained for two years to run the Boston Marathon, covering as much as 40 miles in one day.[10][14] On writing for an application in February 1966, she received a letter from the race director, Will Cloney, informing her that women were not physiologically capable of running marathon distances and that under the rules that governed amateur sports set out by the AAU, women were not allowed to run more than a mile and a half competitively. She realized that it was more important than ever to run and that her run would have a social significance far beyond just her own personal challenge.


After three nights and four days on a bus from San Diego, California, Gibb arrived the day before the race at her parents’ house in Winchester, Massachusetts.[14] On the morning of Patriots’ Day, April 19, 1966, her mother dropped her off at the start in Hopkinton.[14] Wearing her brother’s Bermuda shorts and a blue hooded sweatshirt over a black, tanked-top swim suit, she hid in the bushes near the starting pen.[14] After the starting gun fired, she waited until about half the pack had started and then jumped into the race.[15]


It wasn’t until 1996 that the Boston Athletic Association which hosts these marathons recognized her 1966, 1967 and 1968 wins and finally, 30 years later, gave her the medals she should have won in the first place.  Only then was her name added to the plaque that lists winners in Boston.


The Boston Marathon is a key turning point in the fight for women’s rights.  The main objection to letting women run was they might not have babies.  The pregnancy issue never seemed to bother slave owners who ruthlessly worked black women to the limit in previous centuries.  I remember all too clearly the arguments against women runners since these were aimed at me, personally.


I was chastised about running better than some other males.  I knew that I would never be able to beat really good male runners, we females who fight for our rights understand our physical limitations!  Men have the right mix of hormones and other things for physical strength whereas women have hormones for child bearing.  But the prohibitions were social, not physical.


When I was in high school, I was told that losing to a girl would destroy the male ego.  I retaliated by telling these adult men who were in charge of the sports in our schools that if male egos are so tender and weak, perhaps they ought to not compete in any sports at all.  My lawyer thought I was being too cheeky but I wanted to say that in court, too.


Why do men have to cripple women in order to win?  Have they no strength in character, in themselves, to be whatever they want to be while not making the rest of us deliberately weaker so they can ‘win’ all the time?  How sad is that?


The people who want to eliminate our female civil rights are in full attack mode right now.  The Taliban, the Orthodox Jews, the Catholic Church, the born again Protestants, the Mormons, the list is long of various groups whose main aim is to confine women int weaker, enslaved sexual beings trapped in perpetual pregnancies while being forced to work very hard at the same time.


The concept of ‘choice’ is alien to these mainly male weaklings.  They can’t endure the competition from competent, strong females.  They want to have a RIGGED GAME going with them winning due mainly to making it impossible for women to compete at all.  Before the Civil Rights Act, women had to fight for the right to vote and my grandmother was a Suffragette.  Who was one of the first women to earn a degree in astronomy at a men’s college, not a women’s college 100 years ago.


This was no easy battle.  Every step of the way, women had to endure hate attacks, violence, denial of services, doors slammed shut in our faces, verbal abuse, etc. in this 100+ year struggle to gain our basic civil rights.  There are many decrying the loss of various joint civil liberties today as our State morphs into the Soviet Empire and I am 100% aware of this loss and very angry.


Yet we have a problem with Libertarians who are upset about these basic losses: they seem to not care one whit about MY civil rights and how these are being menaced by religious fanatics and women haters who want to control my medical care via draconian and evil laws preventing access to birth control.  As well as other civil rights issues vital to my survival.


We cannot have an alliance with the Libertarians so long as they refuse to understand this basic issue.  Christian women can refuse abortions, for example, it is none of my business what choices they make.  But when they join with others to prevent ME from choosing what to do, this is a gross violation of my basic rights.  They are intruding on my life.


I am not forcing these women to run marathons.  But they are joining with men who want to insure I can’t run the marathon.  The libertarians on the right would go a long, long ways forward if they would announce they support civil rights in general and the Civil Rights Act in particular.

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Filed under Politics

23 responses to “Boston Marathon Is All About Women’s Rights

  1. John

    Libertarians do support civil rights for everyone.

    You never addressed the partial birth/infanticide issue I raised a couple weeks ago. If you call what this monster did, “civil rights,” then there’s no reason to expect any libertarians to side with you:

    I’m not saying you DO support this atrocity – I’m saying that the reasonable advocates for women’s health issues need to take a declared position on this matter.

    Denouncing murderers like this butcher, in public and on record, would go a long way toward giving libertarians a way to find common cause with you.


    ELAINE: Desperate women abandon babies. Desperate women kill their babies. Crazy adults murder their small and large children and this happens every day.

    I have a sister who had to have a near-full term abortion. The baby had virtually no brain and she would have died of septicemia if she carried full term. And all this business of hers is NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS.

  2. vengeur

    OK , I’ll say it for you, cause I want to make you happy. Women are NOT equal to men. They are better than men. Are you happy now? PLEASE get over your fixation with the 60’s. And just remember: White men can’t jump!


    ELAINE: Tell this to all the GOP jerks out there in La La Land.

  3. CK

    My fave marathoner of all time is Rosie Ruiz. Showing that women can have it all with just a bit of fraud.

  4. CK

    The Boston marathon has to be at the top of the list of SWPL.

  5. vengeur

    Rosie Ruiz! LOL! She won without even breaking a sweat. But wait. Should we honor her for her accomplishment as a woman, or as a Puertorriqueña?

    ELAINE: I didn’t mention her. You did and I assume this was to spread the hate a little.

  6. KUDOS to all females who don’t allow themselves to be suppressed by anyone else, male or female.
    But the women who are declaring themselves ‘pioneers’ for being the first females to run in a frigging race wouldn’t have lasted a day in the life of the women were REALLY pioneers who opened up the west and mid-west.
    Get some perspective ladies!
    And to men everywhere…most of you are nothing but apes with hard ons.
    My apologies to actual apes.

    ELAINE: You mean like my anti-booze, Suffragette Wild West grandmother on my mother’s father’s side of the family?

    She would have been the first to cheer women racing.

  7. N00b

    Right now, I have not heard any person or group claim responsibility for this bombing.

    You are right, Elaine. This could be an attack on women. I had not considered that possibility.

    @ cedricward: Whether you wish to accept it or not, the women of the 70’s–those “yuppies” and “baby boomers” that everyone loves to deride nowadays–yes, they were real live pioneers. They were tough, and they fought for their rights and liberties.

  8. emsnews

    Hell’s bells! I was PHYSICALLY ATTACKED back then by the police and random males!!!!

    It was dangerous to pass out leaflets asking women to join in my various legal attempts at expanding my own civil rights. Men would even snarl at wives and girlfriends to throw it away.

    And more than one male challenged me to a fight and…I accepted. I am ancient now but still can handle swords or whatever you choose for a duel.

  9. vengeur

    You know, this blog reminds me of an incident when I was a kid at summer camp. Sixth grade. 1969? The .22 rifle contest . It’s down to me and Terri Novak in the finals for the whole camp. My concentration was off cause I had to pee real bad , and just held it.Never told anybody about that. Anyway Terri’s dad taught her to shoot, and she beat me, I came in second! LOL . I bet her Dad was proud! My brother teased me a little , but it didn’t bother me, because I knew I beat everybody else. I put up with tons of shit as a kid. Getting beat by a girl was actually a fun experience.

  10. IAmSpartacus

    Yesterday’s Boston Massacre was a new front in the “war on women”?!? That’s streching it a bit, isn’t it?

  11. CK

    One size fits all.

  12. lucky13

    ‘Desperate women abandon babies. ‘
    More BS. I know a DA that prosecuted one case [well off co ed]
    The cases I have studied are usually well off spoiled narcissistic coeds.

    Geragos defended Peterson, who killed his wife and near term baby,
    then he defended Holly Ashcroft [killer of 1, suspected of killing another baby]. Who better than Mark to defend these killers?


    ELAINE: Since you are nit picking today, CRAZY women abandon babies, too as do men who shake infants to death while enraged about crying.

  13. JT

    Tax day, marathon, Patriot day.

    Atlanta bomb – against abortion
    Oklahoma – against government
    Al qaeda – foreign policy
    Unabomber – industrialized society
    Many others – teen angst and stupidity

    No shortage of reasons.
    Who knows.

  14. Seraphim

    It’s all about “penis envy”. And Narcissism.

  15. John

    Desperate women abandon babies. Desperate women kill their babies. Crazy adults murder their small and large children and this happens every day.

    Should they all face legal consequences for these actions? Or does the fact that they’re women mean that they are above all reproach?

    I have a sister who had to have a near-full term abortion. The baby had virtually no brain and she would have died of septicemia if she carried full term.

    And you know full well that situations like hers are NOT what I’m referring to, here. I’ve made it explicitly clear that her situation is the type for which there should always be provisions made. I have no patience with the “God’s Will” fundies who want a woman to die in such a situation – and you know this.

    But again, you sound like a militant feminist, who places no value on any life except a woman’s. Liberty-minded people aren’t going to tolerate such sexist attitudes, any more than we tolerate male chauvanism. Seeing people, not as individuals with individual circumstances, but as part of groups, is collectivist thinking, and it’s useful mainly to the very same elites you’re always railing against. The 1960s is over, and it’s time or all of us to start living in today’s world, and working to remedy today’s problems, issues and and challenges.


    ELAINE: So…recently a hospital in Ireland refused the same operation to a lady who then DIED when the baby’s body rotted inside of her…

    You can be anti abortion for YOURSELF but not for OTHERS who are NOT YOU. You see, you are you and I am me and we are not inhabiting the same bodies so you can have opinions about fetuses but I have to CARRY the fetus which is merely intellectual games for you.

    And by the way, they can now transplant wombs and implant babies in men now so I pray you get off your couch and sign up for this and then carry some woman’s baby for her. Thanks in advance. 🙂

  16. CK

    People who shine a light into the darkness, usually end up with a sucking chest wound. You are shining a light into the medieval darkness here; expect some sophomoric condemnation from the “more evolved” regurgitators of the currently fashionable.
    In any case of pregnancy, there are three requirements, a female, a male ( or turkey baster ) and a fetus. There is one thing that we can guarantee with absolute certainty: the fetus didn’t do it. The fetus is legally and morally innocent of being anything other than an inconvenience to the carrier. So as a society we have decided that it is better to kill the innocent than to inconvenience either of the responsible parties. I leave it to the educated and rational to extrapolate this behavioural code.

  17. emsnews

    I hope CK that you, too sign up to have a womb implant operation. And then carry a baby and report back to me after the birth.

    Thanks in advance,

    Elaine who gave birth two children unlike 99.9999999999% of the males on earth.

  18. CK

    EMS why? Am I incorrect in some way? Is the fetus the father of the fetus and thus deserving of death for being inconvenient? Since you have two and an abortion to your credit, I am assuming you wanted the two you did not abort. You got what you wanted did you not?
    I do not like children. I have never fathered any. I am not interested at 66 in mothering any. I seriously doubt that you at 62 have any worries about pregnancy either. No one really cares what you do or don’t do in the semi-privacy of your boudoir. As for the younger ladies and gents.
    The breeders proliferate and the rational delay. Condoms have existed for a long time. Responsibility for even longer. If you did not want to have your children you could have avoided voluntary pregnancy. You wanted the thrill you got the carrying charge. Blame it on your goddesses who created the two sexes human, the requirement for two to mate to make another human and the differentiated values of eggs and sperms. Today women can avail themselves of day-after drugs that prevent implantation of the impregnated ovum into the uterine wall. No quickening, no pregnancy, but a wee bit of forethought or even a wee bit of after thought.
    So your evil hope is again denied. Women will not be men no matter what the feminists wish and men will not be women no matter what the manboobs and peggers desire. If you find that a world that requires heterosexual intercourse to continue its existence is beyond your acceptability … you own your own life you can do with it whatever you think is fair and equitable to yourself n’est pas?

  19. Ziff house

    What did Thatcher say; women had to be twice as good as men but it was so easy!

  20. CK

    Ginger Rogers had to do everything that Fred Astaire had to do, and she had to do it going backwards and wearing high heels.
    Neither of them were important beyond the world of dance.

  21. Ziff house

    Thumbs up

  22. scooterdie

    implant babies into men??? did you read that in The Onion or something?

  23. emsnews

    Nope, it is now becoming possible.

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