Women’s Distance Running and the 3100 Mile Race

In 1928, in the first year of women’s track and field events being allowed into the Olympics, 3 women collapsed in the 800 metres. Because of this it was felt by the authorities it was not safe for women to participate in events greater than 200 metres.

As a consequence, up until 1960, the longest distance for female runners at the Olympic Games was 200 metres. The idea of women running a marathon was at best frowned upon, but at worst was deemed to be medically dangerous. Women were placed in a catch 22 situation. They weren’t allowed to run, because it was thought marathon running was not safe. But, because they couldn’t run, they were unable to prove they could.

However, a few intrepid female runners ignored conventional wisdom to show that women could run respectable marathon times.

One of the early women marathon pioneers was Roberta Gibb; she sneaked into the Boston Marathon in 1966 and finished with an unofficial time of 3:21.25. When she entered a year later, officials forced her off course so she couldn’t get an official time.
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Video of the Start of 3100 Mile Race

At first glance the early morning scene on this New York street seems pretty ordinary, but what is about to soon take place here is almost unbelievable. – The beginning of the Self – Transcendence 3100 mile race..

This years race features 12 runners from 9 countries. Only Suprabha Beckjord has been to all of them, some have come back for another race. There are also a couple of first time entrants. First time runner Grahak Cunningham interviewed just before the start said of the race that he was feeling: “pretty nervous, but looking forward to it. I’ve been thinking about it for a few months, so its good to be here”

The video was produced by Utpal Marshall for Sri Chinmoy TV.