Recently I seem to be spending more and more time in Nike Town. This isn’t a bad thing (their run clubs make me very happy) and what I love is seeing are their displays. This time round they have a whole wall dedicated to incredible female athletes and right in the middle there is Joan Benoit Samuelson’s name.
Now I wasn’t aware of who Joan was or what she had done for women’s running until a while after I started my own running career. It never occurred to me that there was a time when women’s weren’t allowed to run because I’d never faced an obstacle like that in my career before. I started running, was actively encouraged to do so by my Dad and Sister who were both keen runners.
But of course there had to be someone who was the first, someone who started it all, someone who put women’s running in the forefront of people’s mind. I’m not say Joan was that first woman but she was a pioneer. She won in times which blew people’s minds. Because of her women’s running has the prestige and following that it does now. because of her women’s running is as popular as it is.
And I want to thank her for that. Because I love running more than most things (sleep is a close competitor) and it brings me more joy than most things. And that thanks needs to be extended to all female athletes. There are still some Olympic sports women aren’t allowed to compete in, but these women are pushing the boundaries and fighting for equality.