Bobbi Gibb Is the 2016 Boston Marathon Grand Marshal
Fifty years ago, as a rogue, unregistered, runner, Roberta “Bobbi” Gibb became the first woman to finish the Boston Marathon. This year, she’ll be part of another piece of marathon history—this one with official approval.
The Boston Athletic Association (BAA) announced Tuesday that Gibb will serve as the race’s grand marshal this year. Gibb first held the post in 2013, and it has since gone to the likes of Dick Hoyt and Bill Rodgers. The grand marshal rides in a car ahead of the pack, his or her presence signifying that the runners are not far behind.
Gibb ran her historic marathon in 1966, before women were officially allowed to register for the race. Undeterred, she waited in the bushes in Hopkinton, hopped into the pack, and cruised to an impressive 3:21:40 finish. Her run helped solidify a female presence in the marathon, and contributed to the BAA formally recognizing female entrants in 1972.
“Not only did Bobbi Gibb’s run lead to women’s participation in marathoning, but it also proved that courage and determination can lead to change,” BAA President Joann Flaminio said in a statement. “Throughout Boston Marathon week we will honor Bobbi and women of the Boston Marathon.”
Since Gibb’s bandit run in 1966, more than 164,000 women have finished the Boston Marathon.