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The
Onetrack Paper

Celebrating Women in Running: Trailblazers, Champions, and Inspirations

International Women's Day is an opportune moment to shine a spotlight on the remarkable women who have left an indelible mark on the world of running. From record-breaking athletes to tireless advocates, these trailblazers have not only redefined the boundaries of the sport but have also inspired generations of women to lace up their shoes and chase their dreams. Here, we celebrate the women in running who have paved the way for progress, equality, and empowerment.




  1. Kathrine Switzer Widely regarded as a pioneer for women in running, Kathrine Switzer made history in 1967 when she became the first woman to officially enter and complete the Boston Marathon. Despite facing resistance and ridicule, Switzer's trailblazing run sparked a revolution, paving the way for women's participation in long-distance running.

  2. Joan Benoit Samuelson A true icon of the sport, Joan Benoit Samuelson captured the world's attention with her historic victory at the inaugural women's marathon at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. Her groundbreaking performance not only earned her a gold medal but also inspired countless women to pursue their passion for running.

  3. Grete Waitz Renowned for her dominance in the marathon distance, Grete Waitz claimed victory at the New York City Marathon an unprecedented nine times between 1978 and 1988. Beyond her remarkable athletic achievements, Waitz was a dedicated advocate for women's sports and a staunch supporter of gender equality in running.

  4. Shalane Flanagan A force to be reckoned with on the roads and trails, Shalane Flanagan made history in 2017 when she became the first American woman to win the New York City Marathon in 40 years. Throughout her career, Flanagan has not only excelled as an athlete but has also been a vocal advocate for women's rights and equal opportunities in sport.

  5. Allyson Felix While primarily known for her prowess on the track, Allyson Felix's impact on the world of running extends far beyond her Olympic medals and world records. A vocal advocate for maternal health and gender equality in sports, Felix has used her platform to raise awareness and drive positive change for women athletes around the globe.

  6. Des Linden Known for her tenacity and grit, Des Linden made history in 2018 when she became the first American woman to win the Boston Marathon in over three decades. A fierce competitor and an advocate for inclusivity in running, Linden continues to inspire runners of all backgrounds to pursue their passion with courage and determination.

  7. Tirunesh Dibaba As a multiple Olympic and World Championships gold medalist, and a world record holder in various distances, Tirunesh Dibaba is a dominant force in women's distance running. Her remarkable achievements have not only cemented her legacy as one of the greatest distance runners of all time but have also inspired countless women to push their limits and reach for the stars.

  8. Emma Coburn A trailblazer in the world of steeplechase, Emma Coburn made history in 2017 when she became the first American woman to win a gold medal in the event at the World Championships. Beyond her athletic achievements, Coburn is a vocal advocate for clean sport and gender equality in athletics, using her platform to inspire change both on and off the track.

  9. Gladys Cherono A formidable force in the world of distance running, Gladys Cherono has amassed an impressive array of victories, including multiple wins at the Berlin and Amsterdam marathons. Her relentless pursuit of excellence and unwavering determination serve as an inspiration to women athletes around the world.

  10. Sarah Attar Sarah Attar made history in 2012 when she became the first woman to represent Saudi Arabia in track and field at the Olympic Games. Her groundbreaking participation not only shattered barriers but also opened doors for women athletes in the region, inspiring a new generation of trailblazers to pursue their dreams without fear or hesitation.


As we celebrate International Women's Day, let us pay tribute to these extraordinary women who have not only defied expectations but have also paved the way for progress and empowerment in the world of running. Their achievements remind us that when women are given the opportunity to shine, they have the power to change the world – one stride at a time.

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