Bobbi Gibb: The First Woman To Complete Boston Marathon

Bobbi Gibb: The First Woman To Complete Boston Marathon

Bobbi Gibb wasn’t thinking about what men and women were capable of when she first submitted her entry to the Boston Marathon. At that time, running was more of a spiritual practice for her.

In 1966, she applied to run in the Boston Marathon. However, they rejected her, saying: “Women are not physiologically able to run a marathon, and we can’t take the liability.”

Two months later, the 23-year-old hid under a forsythia bush close to the marathon starting line. She joined the runners after half of the men had already begun, hiding herself in a hooded sweatshirt, her brother’s bermuda shorts, a bathing suit tank top and boys’ running shoes.

Gibb knew if they spotted her, they were going to try to stop her. However, it became increasingly difficult to hide her identity. The male runners soon realized that she was not another man.

Gibb anticipated that they would call the police or push her off the road. Instead, the other runners assured her that they would put a halt to any attempts to impede her race. Gibb removed her sweater as she felt more confident and at ease.

She remembered how the crowd roared as soon as it became known that there was a woman competing in the marathon—not out of rage or righteousness, but out of sheer excitement. Men applauded. Women wept.

I knew I had to finish or I’d set women back 50 years, because I had a lot of responsibility on my shouldersBobbi Gibb

She arrived at Wellesley College to find that word of her sprint had spread, and the female students were jumping and yelling for her. At the finish line, she was greeted by the governor of Massachusetts, who shook her hand. The first woman to run the marathon finished in third place.

Gibb completed the race in three hours, 21 minutes and 40 seconds.

The moral of the story is: don’t let anyone tell you what you can and can’t do. Believe in yourself and believe in your ability to achieve anything that you set your mind on!

Bobbi Gibb: The First Woman To Complete Boston Marathon
Bobbi Gibb Unveiled Her Statue During An Event At The Hopkinton Center For The Arts On Oct. 5 Photo/John Cardillo

Gibb is not only the first woman to run the Boston Marathon, on Oct 5, 2021, she became the race’s first woman to have a sculpture created in her honor.

Also Read: Inspiring Story Of Athlete Wilma Rudolph Who Was Once Told She Would Never Walk Again

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