The Future of Women’s Running

April 21, 2016 - By: Sarah Hovis

 By now the Boston Marathon® is already in the books and all eyes are on
Ethiopian Tigist Tufa to see if she can defend her title in the
Virgin Money London Marathon happening in a few days. This year’s strong field of runners is a testament to
how far women’s endurance running has come. Just a little over 40 years ago during the
first running boom in the ‘70s, women’s presence was noticeably absent. In fact, most races catered to a small community of competitive, white male runners. By the ‘80s, the perception that women couldn’t run long distances began to wane when the
American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) issued a statement, saying: “there exists no conclusive scientific or medical evidence that long-distance running is contraindicated for the healthy, trained female athlete.” And as if to put an exclamation point on the ACSM’s statement, in 1984 American
Joan Benoit Samuelson won the gold medal in the first women’s marathon at the Los Angeles Olympics with a time of 2:24. She was 27 years old. Since 1990, the number of women event finishers has increased by 800 percent and today the
typical female runner is: • 39.3 (Average age) • Married (60.7%) • College educated (77.8%) • Runs on average 3.9 days per week • Runs on average 20.2 miles run per week What does all this mean for the future of women’s running? The noted that women's times in long-distance running events are improving at a rate much faster than men. So, it looks like the sport is heading in the right direction and the antiquated notion that women have no place in racing has thankfully been left where it belongs… in the past. Tell us in the comments your predictions for the future of women's running.