by Anita Crawley
Havant parkrun volunteers #EachforEqual
On the eve of International Women’s Day, todays Havant parkrun saw girls and women come together to run, walk or volunteer in celebration of women world-wide.
#IWD sets out to accomplish a number of missions in the coming year to help forge a gender equal world. With regards to sport, the mission is ‘to celebrate women athletes and applaud when equality is achieved in pay, sponsorship and visibility’.
Historically for women, the freedom to participate in athletic and sporting events has evolved through pioneering souls who have challenged concepts in inequality. A brief look back over the last 100 yrs, shows that with regards to women’s participation in running events, the ‘playing field’ has been far from equal.
Let’s start with the modern Olympics. The very first Games in 1896 consisted of 43 events with 241 athletes representing 14 nations. All the athletes were male. Four years later in Paris, 997 took part, of which only 22 were women, equating to just 2.2% of all competitors. Events were limited to sailing, tennis, golf and croquet. It wasn’t until 1928 in Amsterdam that running events for women were first introduced. However after controversial reports of women collapsing at the finish of the 800m, the International Olympic Committee decided to ban distance races for women due to health concerns for the ‘fairer sex’. Indeed it was widely believed that running was too demanding on a woman’s body, altering her physique and reproductive capacity. Some even believed that wombs would prolapse and ‘fall out’. It would be another 32 years before the women’s 800m would be reintroduced.
The 1896 Olympics opening ceremony
Fast forward to America 1961, the Amateur Athletic Union banned women from all road races. However that didn’t stop some plucky women from unofficially participating in events. There are tales of women hiding in bushes close to start lines and joining in the race pack after the bang of the gun. However the honour of the most famous challenger to AAU rules must go to Katherine Switzer, who at the age of 20 entered the Boston Marathon in 1967 under name of K.V. Switzer. During the race, an angry race official stepped in to grab her bib number and eject her from the race. Switzer was able to continue and finish the marathon due to the intervention of her boyfriend who body blocked the official sending him flying onto the pavement. Photographs of the incident were seen worldwide and made it into the Times-Life ‘100 Photos That Changed the World’. Switzer’s marathon career didn’t end there. She went on to complete 40 marathons and win the New York City Marathon in 1974. Switzer also developed a program of international women-only races, inspiring women all over the world. In 2017, at the age of 70, and 50 years after her first historic run, Katherine Switzer ran the Boston Marathon once more, proudly wearing the bib number 261 – the same number she wore back in 1967.
Katherine Switzer at the 1967 Boston Marathon (AP Photo)
Despite years of lobbying and proof that they could indeed run 26.2 miles without detriment, the marathon distance for women did not debut in the modern Olympics Games until 1984 almost a century after the first men’s race. However, a major leap forward in gender equality came in 1991, 105 years after the inaugural modern Olympic Games, when the IOC made it mandatory for all new sports to include the participation of women.
This year’s IWD campaign theme #EachforEqual, is drawn from the notion that as individuals ‘we can actively choose to challenge stereotypes, fight bias and broaden perceptions, improve situations and celebrate women’s achievements.’ #EachforEqual encourages women to pose in collaboration and as a collective, create a gender equal world.
So come on parkrun ladies, if you want equality – strike that pose and make change happen!
Havant parkrun #408 - The muddy bits were more noticeable
by Sue Palmer
Milder conditions this morning brought 239 park runners to the 408th parkrun at Staunton Country Park, Havant.
A cheerful group of runners started with a very noticeable number and array of purple tops amongst to celebrate International Women’s Day.
Team Rowlands Castle had team leader Mark to encourage and lead us, with Matt, Dave, Tom, Brian, Nicola, Alex and Sue making up the numbers.
The trail puddles seemed to have receded a little as the muddy bits were more noticeable and runners either navigated around the edge, straight through the middle, or jumped over top!
As always a very supportive group of volunteers helped runners on their way and were there to help if needed. Thank you very much to organisers and all the volunteers today.
Photos of parkrun #408 can be viewed here, many thanks to photographer Martyn GARVEY.
This week 239 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 27 were first timers and 23 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 25 different clubs took part.
The event was made possible by 24 volunteers:
Bridget MAIN • Phil WESTERN • Mary SHORT • Anita CRAWLEY • Lisa EMSON • Sarah HAGEDORN • Jason HORTON • Kate PARKS • Robin HALL • Lauren MITCHINSON • Marie MITCHINSON • Raman SANGHA • Nicola FOWLIE • Tina DOHERTY • Tash HORTON • Amber ANKINSON • Libby PYMONT • Rebecca RALF • Tracy LONG • Helen CRAINEY • Esme ANKINSON • Rebecca CHAMBERS • Edward CROUCHER • Julie WOOD
Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Havant parkrun Results Page.
The male record is held by James BAKER who recorded a time of 15:56 on 11th August 2012 (event number 8).
The female record is held by Rebecca MOORE who recorded a time of 18:36 on 9th August 2014 (event number 112).
The Age Grade course record is held by Jane HARROP who recorded 90.81% (20:29) on 11th August 2018 (event number 325).
Havant parkrun started on 16th June 2012. Since then 9,868 participants have completed 84,731 parkruns covering a total distance of 423,655 km, including 13,035 new Personal Bests. A total of 918 individuals have volunteered 7,974 times.
Post-run meet up for coffee, chat and cake:
Please do join us in The Cabin for post-run refreshments and chat, an essential part of the parkrun experience.