The Bobbi Gibb Marathon Sculpture Project: An opportunity to permanently honor the accomplishments of the Pioneers of Women’s Running
The Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.) announced today that the top men’s and women’s finishers of the 1967 Boston Marathon, Dave McKenzie and Roberta ‘Bobbi’ Gibb, will be Co-Grand Marshals of the 2017 Boston Marathon® on Monday, April 17. The Boston Marathon is the oldest annual marathon in the world, and is traditionally held on Patriots’ Day in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
In 1966, 67, & 68, Bobbi Gibb ran and won the Boston Marathon – running peacefully alongside men in ‘66 and women after her historic first. Her goal – to demonstrate that women had the physical and mental capability to run and that men and women could accomplish more by working together. At the 2016 Boston Marathon, JoAnn Flaminio, the first female B.A.A. Executive Director announced that the first group of women runners would now officially be called “Pioneers.” What better incentive for today’s generation of women facing many challenges and opportunities to expand their place in the world.
Bobbi, a true pioneer and humanist expresses herself through many ambitious endeavors. Running - to change perceptions about women - was only the first of many. Her artwork, writing, scientific research (focused on finding a cure for ALS), and environmental activism carry forward her philosophy.
As an artist, Bobbi’s sculptured bronze figurines capture the essence of her world view – they demonstrate strength, commitment, energy, and beauty in one graceful composition. Upon receiving the Woman Runner figurine, a recent client wrote, “The sculpture arrived and is magnificent. It sits on the coffee table in my office. The strength and beauty emanating from that runner makes people passing by my door stop and gaze. I am so very, very proud to have her, and to be part of the chain of women runners stretching back through time… at age 57 I set a PR for a half marathon yesterday.”
These sentiments are what a small team of volunteers hope to capture by building the life-size statue of a female runner on the Boston Marathon Course.
The Bobbi Gibb Marathon Sculpture project, launched in 2016 by the Boston Marathon Champions, has been supported to date by 100 individuals making modest, but meaningful contributions to push us to 10% of the funding needed for the statue. Runners of all ages and their families write weekly to share their stories and accomplishments with Bobbi featuring her in their school history projects. This statue will belong to the people of Boston, runners, and all supporters of the running community. Its presence will be a constant reminder of what one person can do to make a difference.
Bobbi will once again be an integral part of the Boston Marathon activities. Here are some of the highlights:
- Saturday, April 15th: Bobbi will “cut the tape” at the B.A.A. 5K at 9:30 AM in Boston Common. She will do this alongside Dave McKenzie from New Zealand. Dave won the men’s race in 1967 where Bobbi won her 2nd of 3 Marathons in a row.
- Later that day, meet Bobbi and hear her story alongside five other fabulous women pioneers. Join us at the Runner’s World “First Ladies of Running” event on Saturday, April 15th at 12 noon, at the Runner’s World Pop up at 899 Boylston St.
- Sunday, April 16th a new B.A.A. event. Bobbi and Dave McKenzie will be key panelists for theBoston Marathon Seminar Series: 11:00 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. Room 200, John B. Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center, Boston. Bobbi Gibb and David McKenzie reflect on their race victories in 1967. Bobbi Gibb was the first woman to ever run the Boston Marathon.
- Then look for her as co-Grand Marshal of this year’s Boston Marathon as the B.A.A. celebrates Bobbi’s historic run and consecutive wins joined by Dave McKenzie, the men’s 1967 winner from New Zealand.
Additionally, during this year’s Marathon, the film “Boston” will be released privately and afterward to the general public. Bobbi’s story is an important part of this film and she will be celebrated alongside other history-making runners during the film’s release.
Contributing to this project is a sure way to pay forward the accomplishments of all pioneering women runner. For detailed information and sponsorship opportunities, please visit the 26.2 Foundation website. (26.2.org) or contact us via this website.