News : The first woman to finish a marathon

News : The first woman to finish a marathon

Pieper, in a picture at the Pikes Peak Marathon

Arlene Pieper Stine passed away a couple of months ago at the age of 90. It is considered the first woman to finish a marathon after he completed no less than the Pikes Peak Marathon on August 7, 1959, one of the toughest mountain events. It takes place in Manitou Springs (Colorado, USA) and Pieper finished it in 9 hours and 16 minutes. It rose from 2,340 meters to 4,267 meters and descended the same path. No woman had ever done it before.

“At the finish line I felt pretty good. I’m sure I was a little tired, but not completely exhausted.. I lost all my toenails a few days later, “he commented in 2017, recalling that feat. Curiously, it was not valued in its proper measure until 50 years later.

Other women did receive recognition

During that time, other women achieved milestones of different kinds and were recognized as such. For example, Roberta Gibb was the first woman in 1966 to finish the Boston Marathon; For his part, Joan Benoit won the first Olympic marathon in history in Los Angeles’84.

Pieper died on February 11, but his death was not publicly notified until a few days ago his daughter confirmed that Arlene had Alzheimer’s. Pieper had tried a year before completing Pikes Peak, in 1958, undertake the feat but stopped before reaching the top and was disqualified. In ’59 he redoubled his pre-competition training and went for it on a sunny August day. “With the shorts we used to wear back then and my blouse tied in a knot, that’s how we did things in the 50s,” said Pieper, adding that “with my tennis shoes from the dime store I went up”.

A reward to whoever found it

His feat, as the ‘New York Times’ explains in a beautiful story, was forgotten for almost 50 years. The director of Pikes Peak decided that what Pieper did should be recognized as such and from the 2000s he set out to find her. It was not easy at all. In 2009 he tried a tactic. He had even hired a private detective. Ron Ilgen decided in an interview to offer a reward of $ 200 or $ 300 to whoever found it. A genealogist not only found her, but called her and explained her feat. From that moment he became famous and received the recognition he deserved. Rest in peace.

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