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THE HIDDEN FIGURES OF WOMEN’S RUNNING

THESE DAYS WOMEN IN THE WEST ARE AFFORDED FREEDOM TO RUN, BUT THAT WASN’T ALWAYS THE CASE. WE SHINE A SPOTLIGHT ON THE WOMEN IN OUR SPORTING HISTORY WHO CHALLENGED STEREOTYPES AND STOOD UP FOR EQUALITY. AND THOSE WHO ARE STILL DOING SO TODAY…

In modern western society, we as women have the freedom to take part in sports. In fact, it’s hard to believe there was ever a time when we were not afforded this human right.

But if you take a look back to the not-so-distant past, it’s shocking just how hard women have had to fight for the right to equality within the male-dominated sporting world. Just half a decade ago, women not only had to battle commonplace stereotypes of the day, but were also banned from competitive running by the authorities, who alleged women risked infertility if they ran more than a few miles.

And yet, despite widespread prejudice, some women found the inner strength to peacefully and proactively stand up for themselves and, in doing so, helped change the face of running for future generations of women.

Read on to discover just a few of the hidden figures of women’s running – those who paved the way for gender equality within sport…

FANNY BLANKERS-KOEN

Despite being written off by many critics as too old, and told by others that she should stay at home with her children, this Dutch 30-year-old mother-of-two stepped into the Olympic spotlight at the London Games in 1948.

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