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Dale Greig (1937–2019), pioneer of women's running

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She set a women's marathon world record in 1964

Dale Greig was a Scottish pioneer of women's running who became one of the first women to run a marathon. In 1964, when she entered the Isle of Wight Marathon, most people assumed women were too weak to finish a marathon. The race's organizers let her run, but with precautions: She had to start four minutes before the men who were running, and she would be trailed by an ambulance as she ran. Not only did Greig finish the marathon; she came in ahead of many of the men who ran, including 19 who didn't finish. Her time of 3:27:25 made her the first woman to break the 3:30 mark in a marathon and was certified as a world record for women marathoners.

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Died: May 12, 2019 (Who else died on May 12?)

Details of death: Died at a hospice in Paisley, Scotland at the age of 81.


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After the marathon: Greig continued her successful amateur running career for many years after her record-setting success. She was the first woman to run the 53-mile London-to-Brighton race in 1972, even though women wouldn't be officially allowed to run it for another seven years, and she was the first woman to run the Ben Nevis 10-mile mountain race. In 1974, she won the women's World Veteran Championships marathon in Paris.

Greig on her first marathon: “Once I started, I knew things would be all right. I felt sorry for the men I kept passing in the closing stages — they looked embarrassed.”

What people said about her: “Her pioneering efforts opened the way for women throughout the world to be admitted to marathon races, having ventured into uncharted territory at a time when some respected authorities still believed that running such long distances was harmful for a women.” —Arnold Black of Scottish Athletics

Full obituary: New York Times

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