NBC did a fantastic job telling the entire story of women in track and field today during marathon coverage. They showed lots of outrageous stuff like the NY Times running editorials after the 1928 games saying that women would lose their ability to have children if they continued to run such great distances (800 meter is two laps on a track, about a half mile). They also showed some great shots of the woman that crashed the 1968 Boston marathon being harrassed by race officials, and her boyfriend shoulder-checking the guy so she could keep running.
As long as I’ve been running for fun (since 7th grade cross country, in 1985), the image of women running was an everyday occurrence (even our 7th grade cross country had a female team, most of which beat me in races) and I can’t imagine there was a time where it was considered odd for them to go for a long jog. For years women have been getting closer to winning ultra marathon events and it’s only a matter of time before a woman beats all men in a 100 miler.
I honestly had no idea the history of women’s running was so messed up, as it’s been commonplace ever since I first put a pair of running shoes on.