As recently as the 1970s women were banned from participating in marathons. Now, middle-aged women who were discouraged from the sport when they were younger are taking up running for the first time.
Women were not allowed to run the Boston Marathon until 1972, and female runners faced discrimination throughout the '70s. Nina Kuscsik, the first woman to run in the New York Marathon and the first woman to win the Boston Marathon, tells the Times, "If I went out to run and it rained, the police would stop me ... They thought I was running away from something." Over the years, women have gradually gained respect in the sport, and proven that often they can outrun the men. In 1964 the record for the world's best marathon time was set by a man at 3:27:45, but today Paula Radcliffe holds the world record for women's marathon, with a time of 2:15:25. Many older women running today didn't take up the sport until later in life, like Imme Dyson, who started running when she was 47. Today at 72, she is still runs every day and dominates her age group in races and marathons. [NY Times]