Atsede Baysa Gives Marathon Trophy to Bobbi Gibb

Baysa wanted to honor Gibb, the first woman to finish the Boston Marathon.

Atsede Baysa breaks the tape to win the women's division. / Photo via AP

Atsede Baysa breaks the tape to win the women’s division. / Photo via AP

Bobbi Gibb, the first woman to finish the Boston Marathon, has been honored many times since she completed her historic run in 1966. She has twice served as the Boston Marathon’s grand marshal. She’s been asked to make a statue in her likeness, to be erected along the race route. A gallery of her artwork was on display leading up to this year’s marathon.

But because she ran as an unsanctioned participant, during a time when women weren’t allowed to compete, Gibb had never gotten the most basic honor of them all: a trophy.

Atsede Baysa—who won this year’s women’s division with a time of 2:29:18—was so touched by Gibb’s story that she decided to change that. At a press conference Tuesday morning, the 29-year-old bestowed her trophy upon Gibb.

“I want to dedicate this trophy to her because she’s an amazing woman,” Baysa said, via a translator.

“I can’t possibly keep this,” Gibb, 73, said at the press conference. “This woman has a beautiful soul. What a big heart she has.” Gibb said she plans to visit Baysa’s home country, Ethiopia, in a year to return the award.

Though it took the Boston Athletic Association until 1972 to officially open the field to women, Gibb’s journey is seen by many as the start of a new era of female running. Since she took to the course, roughly 175,000 women have made the trek from Hopkinton to Boston.

“It galvanized people. It really changed the way people thought about women; it changed individual and social consciousness,” Gibb told Boston last month. “It inspired lots of people, men and women, to run.”