In the spring of 1966, 23-year-old Roberta “Bobbi” Gibb made a ripple as the first woman to run the Boston Marathon. In fact, it was the first race she ever ran. There were no trainers or even women’s running shoes at the time.
The first woman to complete the Boston Marathon will serve as the grand marshal of this year’s race, the Boston Athletic Association announced Tuesday.
Her passion may be running yet contemporary artist and sculptor Bobbi Gibb has never run from anything in her life. In fact, her existence is a series of running toward, well, everything, as fast as humanly possible. She began running at age four “and never stopped.”
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Winchester native Roberta “Bobbi” Gibb’s history-making marathon run as the first woman to run the entire Boston Marathon.
With little left to prove on the roads after 1968, Gibb turned her attention to academics and art. She has had a lifelong and continuing interest in neuroscience, especially Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS), which claimed a close friend a decade ago. She also sculpts and paints. In 1984, her sculpture was awarded to the first three finishers in the first U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials for women, famously won by Joan Benoit.
Some of her paintings—colorful swirling abstracts—will be made public for the first time this spring.