Throwback Thursday: When Women First Ran the Marathon, Boston Magazine

By Eric Randall

With so many women in the race this year, it’s hard to remember a time when their participation was revolutionary.

On Monday, nearly half of the 35,000 runners participating in the Boston Marathon will be women. There will be 396 women named Jennifer alone. There will be 238 Sarahs, and 188 Amys. The fastest among these runners will finish in under two and a half hours.

Given all that, it’s hard to remember that not so long ago, to be a woman running Boston was something of a revolutionary act. On April 17, 1972, just 42 years ago, Nina Kuscsik won the first officially sanctioned women’s race. She was one of nine women to enter, and she finished in 3:10:26.

For Kucsik and the other racers, it was a struggle just to get to the starting line. Five years earlier, Syracuse University journalism student Kathrine Switzer defied regulations and registered for the race using her initials.

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