I attended the January Gazelle Girl run meetup this last weekend. It was at the shiny new Mary Free Bed YMCA off of 28th St, and it was a shared event with Gazelle Sports Run Camp. Anyway, Joan Benoit Samuelson spoke about her running career and we heard about Gazelle Girl and had snacks. It was awesome.
One cool think Joan brought up was that she didn’t enter high school before Title IX, the regulation that made it so schools had to offer certain opportunities for women and girls to participate in sports that had been previously unavailable to them. She said that it was enacted her second year in high school after she had started running, and had it been enacted before she entered high school, she would have opted for soccer instead and, “probably wouldn’t be here today.”
It’s amazing to me the kinds of things that women were told and forbidden from doing even just a few decades ago. I think it was while watching Spirit of the Marathon that I first heard how women were prevented from running because the belief was that running could cause your uterus to fall out.
Turns out they were ovary acting.
Women broke the rules and ran races anyway, which is like the most badass form of athletic protest ever. It’s just that we never hear about this. As a millennial, it is completely foreign to me that a woman would not be allowed to do a sport, or that women wouldn’t be able to join a boys team if there wasn’t one for girls. I knew a girl on the football team in high school. She was a model, too. When she told me she was joining the football team, I was like, “That’s badass.” And she didn’t explode or break in half or have her uterus fall out.
Anyway, the meetup was a lot of fun. The new YMCA is so sparkly and pretty. The weather was great for a run, too. I think I’ve finally forced myself into dressing colder than I think I’ll need. I know I run super hot all the time and am never cold, but there’s always that nagging voice that’s like, “But wouldn’t you rather have to take off a layer than be cold!?” and I go against my better judgement and wear one too many layers. I’ve told that voice to be quiet, and nailed the winter running layers. It only took five years of running to figure it out.
The next Gazelle Girl meetup is at Brewery Vivant, but, sadly, if you didn’t already register, it sounds like they’re filled up.
Grand Rapids Moms RUN This Town is joining up with the GR Running Club for Saturday morning runs on the west side, so make sure you check out the Facebook events if you are looking for a Saturday run group!