50 Years of Women Marathoners

07/27/2009 - 10:45

l_ppm_c_0.gifEight years before Kathrine Switzer became the first woman to officially compete in the Boston Marathon, Arlene Grundmann Pieper raced into the
history books on a whim.

The Pikes Peak Marathon has been open to women since its inception. In 1959, Arlene Pieper joined 15 men in the "race to the clouds". The Ascent
and Marathon took place simultaneously in those days. She had intended to only run the Ascent, but when she got to the top, she decided that she had enough left to go the distance. She turned around and headed back to earth.

When she reached the finish line, she became the first woman to finish a sanctioned marathon in the United States. And she did it running one of the toughest marathons in the world.

At the time, her incredible feat was overshadowed in the press by the fact that her 10-year-old daughter chose to run along with her and made it to the top. Even given the company she kept on the way, her accomplishment can't be diminished. Twelve years passed before another woman conquered the Peak.

2009 is the 50th anniversary of that momentous run. The Pikes Peak Marathon is celebrating those 50 years of women marathoners. Fifty years of women showing they've got what it takes.

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