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Breaking into the Marathon: Women's Distance Running as Political Activism

Breaking into the Marathon: Women's Distance Running as Political Activism Breaking into the Marathon Women’s Distance Running as Political Activism Jaime Schultz Th e 26.2- mile marathon foot race is not for the faint of heart. It is not for the unfi t, the untrained, or the unprepared. And until 1972 there remained an- other stipulation— one put in place by the sport’s governing bodies— it was not for women. In spite of that prohibition, American women “crashed” men’s events from at least 1959. Th rough open acts of athletic defi ance, they insisted on equal opportunity, physical autonomy, and corporeal respect. Based on oral histories with eleven of these “gatecrashers,” I explore their contributions to feminist activisms of the 1960s and 1970s. Ten of these women edged their way into men’s marathons between 1959 and 1972. An- other, Julia Chase- Brand, would have joined them had she not agreed to a deal with the all- powerful Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) following her in- fi ltration of Connecticut’s men- only fi ve- mile Manchester Road Race in 1961. AAU offi cials told her they would begin to authorize women’s cross- country races if she promised “to never embarrass them again by going on the roads in a men’s road http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies University of Nebraska Press

Breaking into the Marathon: Women's Distance Running as Political Activism

Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies , Volume 40 (2) – Jul 25, 2019

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Publisher
University of Nebraska Press
Copyright
Copyright © Frontiers Editorial Collective, Inc
ISSN
1536-0334

Abstract

Breaking into the Marathon Women’s Distance Running as Political Activism Jaime Schultz Th e 26.2- mile marathon foot race is not for the faint of heart. It is not for the unfi t, the untrained, or the unprepared. And until 1972 there remained an- other stipulation— one put in place by the sport’s governing bodies— it was not for women. In spite of that prohibition, American women “crashed” men’s events from at least 1959. Th rough open acts of athletic defi ance, they insisted on equal opportunity, physical autonomy, and corporeal respect. Based on oral histories with eleven of these “gatecrashers,” I explore their contributions to feminist activisms of the 1960s and 1970s. Ten of these women edged their way into men’s marathons between 1959 and 1972. An- other, Julia Chase- Brand, would have joined them had she not agreed to a deal with the all- powerful Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) following her in- fi ltration of Connecticut’s men- only fi ve- mile Manchester Road Race in 1961. AAU offi cials told her they would begin to authorize women’s cross- country races if she promised “to never embarrass them again by going on the roads in a men’s road

Journal

Frontiers: A Journal of Women StudiesUniversity of Nebraska Press

Published: Jul 25, 2019

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