No Category selected Because I am a woman

    Because I am a woman


    Earlier in the week, I read the story of how the Gaza Marathon, an event organized by the UN, was cancelled because the Hamas rulers banned women from participating. Of course I wholeheartedly support the UN’s decision to cancel and would not have it any other way.

    How to describe how I feel about the whole situation…it is a gigantic, complex web of issues. The best I can do is to say I am shocked, outraged, and incredibly sad – and that does not do it justice.

    The shock comes directly thanks to my luck at having been born in Canada – where I have never had to even think about not being allowed to run a marathon. Be cautious about where I run and fear for my safety during training, yes, but I have always been allowed. It’s always been my right to pay my fee like everyone else, pin on that number, and run that race.

    But then I remember that even here – in Canada, the US, the Western World – this wasn’t always the case. Every year on International Women’s Day, I think of the heroic women that I know, and that I wish I knew personally – and naturally, because I am a runner, women such as Silvia Ruegger, Joan Benoit-Samuelson, Kathrine Switzer, etc., etc., etc., are among them – but even more so this year.

    I had the privilege of meeting Silvia when I was in elementary school. I listened to her talk about dreams –the Olympic Marathon was simply the example she used to illustrate her point – and I was inspired. At the time, becoming a runner didn’t even cross my mind, so I had no idea how directly she would impact my life.

    In January, when I went to Disney World to do the Goofy Challenge, I had the privilege of meeting “Joanie” at the Social Media Meet-Up/Tweet-Up. She was one of 6 people on a panel – one of two women – that included people like Jeff Galloway, Bart Yasso, and Dick Beardsley. I have to tell you, while people clapped politely for the rest of the panel, they roared and applauded with a fervour you rarely see when Joan came up. I know this had a lot to do with the number of women in attendance, but it was very clear that all of the women there knew how directly she had impacted our lives.

    I am hoping to meet Kathrine this June at the Niagara Falls Women’s Half Marathon, as she is scheduled to be there; and if I do I will thank her for directly impacting my life.

    If it weren’t for these women, among others, marathon running would not be a common activity for average women like me. Never once, as I learned to run, did I ever have to ask myself if my chromosomes, muscle mass distribution, centre of gravity, hormones or reproductive organs would stop me from running a marathon.

    Did I doubt I could do it? Of course.

    But never because I am a woman.


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    A runner for just over four years, Karen has already completed a marathon, two half marathons and a variety of 5k and 10k races. She describes her first marathon - the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon last September - as "a nightmare." However, she met a very interesting person in the process - a man named Sydney who was running his 152nd marathon! Although the race didn't go as well as planned for Karen or Sydney, he showed her that no matter how experienced a runner you are, you can still have a bad day. "Does that mean we shouldn't bother to prepare, or maybe just shouldn't bother at all? Of course not!" says Karen. "In the end, it is what we make it." We like her optimism!