Honoring 50 Years of Women at the Boston Marathon

Fifty years ago, Hopkinton, Massachusetts, offered more than a starting line - it launched a movement.

"My biggest fear was that I'd be stopped. I wouldn't be able to prove what I'd come to prove," said Bobbi Gibb, the first female Boston Marathon runner. "I found a little clump of bushes and the gun went off. I waited till half the pack left and I jumped in."

Wearing her brother's Bermuda shorts and hooded sweatshirt, Gibb snuck into the Boston Marathon. Her formal application to race was denied just weeks prior.

"It said women are not physiologically able to run a marathon and furthermore, it's a men's division race," she said.

She proved organizers wrong.

Minutes after joining the race, the men around her joyously cheered her on.

"I got to Wellesley, which is about the halfway mark, and the women just were jumping up and down and screaming and crying and laughing," she said.

Finishing the marathon in just three hours and 21 minutes, Gibb earned congratulations from the governor.

"I just felt like things were never going to be the same, and somehow, everybody felt at that moment things were changing," said Gibb.

And change they did.

"She's a remarkable woman," said Deb Thomas, a marathoner herself. "She is so humble."

Thomas joined with past Boston winners Bill Rodgers and Amby Burfoot at a fundraiser for Gibb Wednesday night in Hopkinton. The goal is to raise money to construct a statue of Gibb along the marathon course.

"when you realize there are statues around the course that are all men, it's about time that a statue of a woman is out there," said Thomas.

Gibb, herself a sculptor, planned to run this year's marathon until a winter illness left her down, but not out. She'll serve as the grand marshal instead.

Soon, many hope she'll have a permanent home along the course she pioneered.

The fundraising goal for this project is nearly $150,000. Click here to see how to donate.

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