Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Are we strong enough?

I just finished reading Kathrine Switzer's Marathon Woman. She's the groundbreaking woman who dared to run Boston with an official number in 1967, when women were not allowed to run that marathon (oh, or any other marathon). She didn't lie on the entry form. There was no box to check F or M, and she liked using her initials to enter races anyway, K.V. Switzer. It's a great story and the pictures of the race director trying to pull her off the course are amazing--this is only 42 years ago.

I'm going to be interviewing her in late November, down in Florida at the Women's Running Magazine's first Half-Marathon. So I'll save any stories about K.V. Switzer for then.

But I had to share this one factoid in advance: Did you know that the women's marathon was not an official Olympic event until 1984? And if you knew that, did you also know that to get the event sanctioned for the Olympics required medical certification that marathons were not harmful to women, that women were indeed strong enough to do the distance?

Curious. Sometimes when I look at the state of the world, still run largely by men, I wonder if we ought to ask for medical-psychological certification that power is not harmful to men, that men are indeed capable of creating a peaceful world.