Throughout much of the 20th century, women were discouraged from running long distances and were often excluded from races. False health claims were used to justify these decisions. While women couldn't officially compete in the Boston Marathon until 1972, or an Olympic marathon until 1984, several women ignored these restrictions.
In 1966, Roberta Gibb secretly completed the Boston Marathon. She hid in a bush before the start of the race. In 1967, Katherine Switzer registered for the Boston Marathon by pretending to be a man. She completed the race in spite of the director who tried to push her off course.
Then came Maureen Mancuso, a 13-year-old girl with an unbelievable passion for running. Her drive was to be as fast as possible, and her motivation was found in those even faster. Maureen’s family supported her love for the sport, as did her coach, who, in 1967, organized a sanctioned marathon in Toronto.
Unable to register, Maureen signed up for the 5-mile race, which would start shortly after the men’s-only marathon began. But, as runners gathered to head to the starting line, Maureen slipped into the group and joined them for the 26.2-mile course. Nobody paid much attention to her.
In 3:15:22, Maureen broke the previous women's marathon record by more than four minutes. She became affectionately known as Mighty Moe by those close to her. But, for nearly 50 years, Maureen received very little public recognition until her story was uncovered by a journalist and penned into this book.
JW Believe Foundation continues to celebrate Maureen’s accomplishments with a clothing line called Mighty Like Moe, that supports movement: both in the sport itself, and in its ability to empower self, team, and cause.