Freedom to Run

Did you know that women weren’t allowed to run in the Boston Marathon until 1972? And the marathon was not added to the Olympics as an event for women until 1984? The first woman, Roberta Gibb, who ran the Boston Marathon was not granted permission to run, and she hid in the bushes wearing a hooded sweatshirt and joined in just after the start line. That was in 1966. The following year, another woman, Katherine Switzer, ran it and officials tried to physically remove her from the race, but were unsuccessful because the man she was running with blocked them and she got away.

This 4th of July I celebrated my freedom to run by completing a 10k in Cody, Wyoming. It was fabulous! Every summer I get to travel to Wyoming, and every summer I am reminded of just how difficult it is to run at an elevation of 6,000 ft instead of 650 ft. Wyoming is a beautiful state and there are mountains in every direction. I can’t help but have the urge to run, hike, and explore while I am here. But then, I walk out my in-laws front door to do my out and back run, and remember that the whole “out” is up hill and into the wind, while the way back is downhill with the wind at your back. It is hard. Really hard. 

Thank goodness, I had a running buddy out here this year! My friend Becky was here and ran the 10k and two additional training runs with me this week. I can’t explain to you how much that helped. Even though I have been having a really good attitude about my running lately and remembering that it is a gift and something I GET to do, sometimes that feeling disappears when you are sucking for air while trying to run uphill against a 30 mile and hour headwind! Our 10 mile run that we had planned, turned into a 7 mile run because it was just that challenging. We were laughing at ourselves as we did the survival shuffle up the unending hill and were almost knocked over by the gusts of wind. Not to mention the continual spitting and coughing as we gasped for air that didn’t seem to be there. Those are the runs that make you wonder why you run. 

But then the run is complete and there is such a great feeling of accomplishment that it makes it all worth it. Plus, it’s a good story to tell. It’s not every day that I get the chance to go for a beautiful run in the mountains. There are women in many parts of the world that aren’t allowed to run at all. It is not a privilege granted to everyone, and it is not a privilege that women in the USA have had for very long. I need to remember this on all of my challenging runs. There are many women who have that same urge to run that I often get, but they aren’t allowed to satisfy that desire. 

Take advantage of the gifts that you were given and the opportunities that you have. Go for a run. Feel the burn in your lungs and the exhaustion of your body. Then, be proud.

“There will come a day when you can no longer run; today is not that day.” -Unknown

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