I confess that I’m a bit of a fan girl of women running legends. Not just the fast girls (although Jacqueline was that as well), but of the ladies who came before me who broke the barriers to women in running. Jacqueline Hansen is one of those women. She not only was the first woman to break 2:40 in a marathon, she also won the 1973 Boston Marathon and played an integral role in getting longer distance women’s races into the Olympics. While President of the International Runners Committee, she and her group pushed to get the marathon added to the Olympics. She also led a class action lawsuit against the International Olympic Committed to include the 5,000 and 10,000-meter races for women in the Games as well.
Jacqueline recently came to the DC area to give a speech at a local event and I had the pleasure of joining her for a tour of DC and dinner out.
My friend (a many time Boston Marathoner) is a friend of Jacqueline’s, so we picked her up at the airport and did a short tour of some of the best monuments in DC. It was fun to share what has become my hometown with someone who hadn’t visited in years.
After playing tourists for a while, we took Jacqueline to check in at her hotel and then grabbed dinner at a local restaurant. I loved hearing all the stories of her running adventures and talking about all the famous women runners she considers friends. It was like getting an insiders view of the running world.
On Monday, Jacqueline will be shooting the starting gun at the Boston Marathon to celebrate the 50th anniversary of her win.
If you’d like to read more about Jacqueline in her own words, check out her book!