Two miles into the 1967 Boston Marathon, an official tried to eject me from the race simply because I was a woman. That event changed my life and, as a consequence, the lives of millions of women around the world.
The marathon was a man’s race in those days; women were considered too fragile to run it. But I had trained hard and was confident of my strength. Still, it took a body block from my boyfriend to knock the official off the course and allow me to complete the 26 miles 385 yards.
In 1967, few would have believed that marathon running would someday attract millions of women, become a glamour event in the Olympics and on the streets of major cities, help transform views of women’s physical ability and help redefine their economic roles in traditional cultures.