Women's long road to securing a place alongside men in running competitions began centuries ago and has been marked by successes, challenges, and controversies. Nevertheless, key 20th-century struggles to gain formal entry into elite races have paved the way for millions of recreational runners to enjoy the benefits of running.

The Long Road to the Start Line

The early history of women's participation in running events is marked by struggles to achieve the right to participate alongside men in the sport. As early as 1919, requests to the International Olympic Committee to include women's track-and-field events in the Olympic Games were denied because of assumptions that physical activity and competition were harmful to women's biological and psychological health. The earliest track-and-field competitions were subsequently held as separate ...

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