The Woman Who Made Marathon History

Meet Roberta Gibb

By Google Arts & Culture

Bobbi Gibb

Roberta 'Bobbi' Gibb was born in Massachusetts in 1942, growing up in Winchester and Rockport. She is known as the first woman to run the Boston Marathon in 1966, despite women not being allowed to compete in the race.

When ‘Bobbi’ tried to sign up for the 1966 marathon, instead of receiving her competitor number in the post, she got a disqualifying letter from Boston Athletic Association stating that women were "not physiologically able" to run further than 1.5 miles.

Undeterred, the athlete snuck into the race anyway, hiding in a bush near the start line. She completed the course in 3 hours and 21 minutes, faster than half of her male competitors. She was also the three-time winner of the Boston Marathon Women’s Division from 1966 to 1968.

Kathrine Switzer: First Woman to Enter the Boston Marathon by MAKERSWETA

Following in Gibb's footsteps, in 1967, Kathrine Switzer became the first woman to officially run the course using her initials to disguise as a male competitor. It wasn't until 1972 that the Amateur Athletics Union allowed women to officially enter the race.

Although she is known for her running achievements, few know her as an artist. She attended the School of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and specializes in bronze and wax sculptures and acrylic paint murals.

Where Are the Women Assets

Discover more pioneering women across arts and culture.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
Google apps