Thursday, October 14, 2010 | Categories: Documentaries
Next Sunday morning, two very fit middle aged women will be hard to spot in a sea of thousands itching for the gun to go off at the Good Life Toronto International Marathon.
The first time the two runners paced a starting line together, the world was very different. Just the idea of a woman in a marathon was considered radical, even dangerous. Coaches said women didn't have the strength or stamina to go the distance. Doctors warned of future childbearing complications. Critics said it was unfeminine.
But on a cool Toronto morning in May 1967, Katherine Switzer was itching to race. She was a headstrong university student with something to prove. She would go on to become a running icon - an elite marathoner, a global advocate for women's running and a driving force behind adding the women's marathon to the Olympics. That morning, she was fresh off a dramatic run in Boston.
Maureen Mancuso was 13 - shy, unassuming and a long-distance running prodigy. She had trained hard, and the longer she ran, the stronger she got. That morning, the grade 8 student was aiming to run the marathon faster than any woman ever had.
On May 6th, 1967, Katherine Switzer and Maureen Mancuso slipped in behind a huddle of men, the only women in a field of thirty runners.
It turned out to be a hugely important leg in a remarkable long distance journey.
Here is the story in their voices. Our documentary, Did My Mom Ever Run?, is produced by John Chipman.