RUNNING SINCE THE 1970’s (with no signs of stopping)

We can’t help but be inspired by this photo, capturing a profound moment in the lives of our friend’s Anna’s parents, Bonnie and Roger, in the late 1970’s after a run in Ann Arbor MI to raise money and awareness for the Equal Rights (for Women) Amendment. The 70’s were a known for sparking a number of movements, from ERA to Civil Rights and (right up our alley) the “running boom” in the United States and beyond.

Nowadays, it seems like every other person we meet is either training for a marathon or wondering when they should check a triathlon off their “bucket list.” So when did this whole running “kick” happen, and how? It’s said that Frank Shorter’s gold medal win in the Munich Olympic Marathon of 1972 was the catalyst of the 1970s running boom, and an estimated that 25 million Americans took up some aspect of running over the course of the next two decades.

With that huge running frenzy, what better time for running mag’s like Runner’s World and shoe companies like Nike to take the spotlight and get to work supporting these athletes!

Many historical events and societal trends can also be associated with the running boom, but three individuals stand out as those who truly set fire to the runner’s spirit in the US.

Bill Rodgers was one of the best marathoners to ever live, setting the world’s fastest time at the NYC marathon in 1976 and winning the Boston marathon. His love for the race literally doubled the number of participants in the NYC marathon the year after he won!

Then there was Katherine Switzer, a woman who dared to go against the common belief that that women were not fit to compete in long running distances when she registered for the Boston marathon under the gender-neutral name “K.V. Switzer.” She literally had to fight off male protestors who tried to physically take her out of the running! Even after women were legally allowed to participate in these 26.2 mile races, she fought even farther by encouraging women to compete in the Olympics in this field, saying “Olympic inclusion for women’s distance runners would mean two things: first, that the whole world would at last acknowledge women’s physical capability, and second-but no less important-that women themselves would suddenly realize that they could be distance runners at the highest level.”

This dream became a reality in when Joan Benoit Samuelson took Gold in the  first women’s Olympics in Los Angeles during the summer of 1984. Not only did this spark the trend in female racing, but it’s impact has shown in our lifetime with all-women races like the Nike Women’s Marathon and equal rights movements through the art of running for the European Women’s Lobby.

Well, there’s your bit of history BTYB your Arm Social Media Rep 🙂 Just some things to think about when you sign up for your next race: you’re helping to continue a tradition that’s been inspiring people (including ourselves) for a long time. GO YOU!

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