Since the dawn of time, there has been disparity between the sexes. Women, perceived as the weaker sex have waited patiently. We wait no more.
A Brief History of Time
776 B.C. – The first Olympics are held in ancient Greece. Women are excluded.
(Lots of stuff happens here)
1967 -K. (Katherine) Switzer registers to run the Boston Marathon. Race officials try to tear her number from her back during the race.
1972 – Congress passes Title IX. BOOM.
1973 – Billie Jean King wins the “battle-of-the-sexes” tennis match against Bobby Riggs on Sept. 20 in Houston in front of more than 30,000 people and a world-wide TV audience of more than 50 million people.
2000 –Fabiola Da Silva’s scorching athleticism leads to the introduction of the “Fabiola Rule”, which allows women to qualify into the men’s vert finals of competitions of the X-Games. Since then, Fabiola has placed several times in the men’s top 10 and she was the only girl competing against a field of male inline skaters at the 2004 X Games.
2004 – Michelle Wie, became the youngest person, and just the fourth female to play in a PGA tour event, when she teed off at the Sony Open.
2006 – In Anchorage, Alaska Michaela Hutchison becomes the first girl in the nation to win a state high school wrestling title while competing against boys.
2011 – This morning in fact– I passed four dudes on the trail during my little training run.
Okay, so the last one isn’t compelling outside of it made me smile when it happened (four times and they were the only other people on the trail) but it calls to mind the advances women are making in all sports and that we are gaining momentum on our male counterparts. Getting “chicked” aka a man being passed, beaten, bested, out-done by a woman is becoming a more normalized occurrence in frequency, but ask most men and it will never be “okay.”
Most of my male friends acknowledge their aversion to being bested by women. I’m no Paula Radcliffe, but in my circle of running buddies, I’m no slouch. I can throw down some good times and on a pretty consistent basis. To that point, I’ve been challenged to races more times than I can count by those who didn’t know better, those who thought they knew better, and those who had been drinking heavily. In the sake of transparency, I haven’t always won those bets (yes, I generally take them) but on the trail and on the road, I can hold my own.
Regardless, when I roll up on a guy in an event or even on a gym track I get the same reaction, deer in headlight eyes, sudden onset panic/embarrassment/fear and an overly exaggerated effort to not let me pass them. When I do, when they forfeit, it’s a small victory for me and a huge shot to the ego for them. But let’s get real for a hot second; I’m just a blip on the radar screen. Take Chrissie Wellington for example, the phenom Ironman athlete. She has rarely been outside the top 10 overall in her races – 7th in Roth, 7th in Korea, 8th in Arizona… Her marathon times in some of her wins have been beaten by only a few men in those races. Only at Kona does she find herself outside the top 10 (22nd in 2009, for example).
Or what about Pam Reed, the ultra-distance runner who in 2002 was the first woman to become the overall winner of the Badwater Ultramarathon. That’s a nasty little 135 mile ultra that has crazy elevation and heat indexes well above 120 degrees. She subsequently repeated as overall winner of the race in 2003. In 2002, her win also set the women’s course record. In 2005, Reed became the first person, not woman, but PERSON to complete a 300-mile run without sleep. It took less than 80 hours. And NO, that’s not a typo – 300 miles… in 80 hours… without sleep.
The moral of the story is simple. Guys, the ladies are showing up. Day in and day out, in all sports, niches, and events, we’re here. Ask anyone who’s squared off against Sonya Thomas the 98-pound professional eater who goes by the moniker “Black Widow” and is currently ranked number five competitive eaters in the United States and sixth in the world, with 29 world titles. The ladies are kicking ass, and we aren’t going anywhere. So when you hear the tell-tale sound of approaching footsteps behind you, it could very well be a woman about to smoke you…don’t fight it. As she leaves you in her wake with what you’ll tell your friends later was superhuman steroid-fueled ease, giver her respect (even if it’s only in your head). You and I both know that getting “chicked” may be the best thing to happen to you all day.