First, let me say that there are many women in the history of running that deserve recognition and one shirt will never do them justice. I could fill both front and back with women I think deserve to be honored, maybe one day I will ;) But for this, I had to narrow down the field. The main criteria was that they are all marathon runners. Also keep in mind that I’m American, selling to an American market.
Below is the list of woman who made the cut and why. It’s very abbreviated, most of you already know these women and this isn’t for you ;)
Paula Radcliffe (English) - She currently holds the world record in the marathon. Not to mention all her other accomplishments (read her wiki page). But that puts her at the top of the list.
Joan Benoit Samuelson (American)– Won the first gold medal of the first Olympics that women were allowed to compete. Watch this if you want goosebumps: Women's Marathon - Los Angeles 1984 Summer Olympic Games
Deena Kastor (American)– If you know anything about women’s running, you know Deena Kastor. I don’t even know where to start, she’s the American Marathon Record holder, was the first American woman to medal in the Olympics since Joan Benoit, and is currently shattering American Master records. She makes the shirt.
Grete Waitz (Norwegian )– Maybe it’s the fact that I lived in NYC for so long (“Grete’s Great Gallop” anyone?), and she’s won the NYC marathon 9 times, more than any other runner in history. She also came in second behind Joan in the first Olympic Marathon that women could compete in. To me, she’s a historical figure and makes the shirt.
Kara Goucher (American)– If you’re a runner today, you know Kara Goucher. Not only because she’s an Olympian, but you’ll see her everywhere. Besides her running accomplishments, she’s the kind of woman you want to be friends with after you read anything about her. Her partnership with Shalane made everyone want them for running buddies. She’s always talking to fans on social media (most recently posting a pic of said shirt) and is so relatable, I don’t know one person who could argue her making the shirt.
Shalane Flannagan (American) – Again, if you know anything about women’s running today, you know Shalane. Already with an Olympic games under her belt, she’s heading to the Rio this year.
Desi Linden (American)– Heading to the Rio Olympics this year, the more you know about this speedy lady, the more you can’t help but love her. She was added on the second version of this shirt… why? Because I slacked on the first one.
Ok, so who’s not one the shirt and why:
Catherine Ndereba (Kenyan)– This woman would be the next one on the list if I added another name. Four time Boston winner and Olympian. I made the conscious choice to put Americans on the list instead, and she definitely would make the list if I was marketing world wide instead of in the USA. I also worried about confusion with Kathrine Switzer (despite the difference in spelling, I think many people would be confused and I see comments/complaints rolling in).
Amy Hastings (American) – Guys… I'm sorry, something is coming with her on it soon!
Rita Jeptoo (Kenyan) – She was on the first draft of this, winning the Boston Marathon 3 time and setting the course record. Also winning Chicago, Stockholm and Milan, she was on fire! But with doping charges, she got cut.
Kathrine Switzer & Bobbi Gibb (Americans) – I should have done a Boston Marathon version with these women on it! Maybe for next year.
I, of course, could keep this going, but you all get the idea. I hope that helps everyone understand the list and the reasoning. I’m always open to your feedback and welcome suggestions! There is a new shirt with a more worldwide representation coming soon, so stay tuned! Now Available! Thanks for taking the time to read.