EP 680: Breaking Barriers in Women’s Running

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Scott & Don

We are joined by Maggie Mertens, the author of “Better Faster Farther: How Running Changed Everything We Know About Women,” which challenges long-held beliefs about women in running. Starting with a powerful reminder from over a century ago, when a woman ran the first modern Olympic marathon without permission, the book reveals how women have faced relentless opposition from the medical establishment, media, and athletic associations. Despite these challenges, they ran barefoot, without sports bras, and sometimes disguised as men, defying quack science and societal norms. Mertens takes us from this boundary-breaking marathon in Greece in 1896 to today’s ultra-marathons, like the Spine Race, where women have shattered records. The conversation explores the history of women in running, the progress made, and the lingering stereotypes and inequalities. It highlights the achievements of female athletes, the impact of Title IX, and the need for more research on women’s bodies in sports. Overall, it sheds light on the importance of breaking down barriers and empowering women in the world of running.

You can preorder the book now or buy it on June 18th when it is released.

Learn more by going to Maggie’s website or following Maggie on Instagram

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Episode 680