Photo by Creative Commons

Within the last decade, there have been growing numbers of women participating in marathon races across the country. The phenomenon can be seen in this year’s Rock ’n’ Roll DC Marathon Series where thousands of women flocking the capital city to compete in the race. However, despite the rising statistic, stereotypes and obstacles still linger, hindering women to join the competition.

Podcast Script:

<<0007_Atmosphere entrance door to Health and Expo at DC Armory_Sounds of checking machine, people line up, “Have your bag open!”, print your form, follow the red carpet and go down the stairs!”>> KEEP NAT SOUND UNDER THIS WHOLE SECTION

Hundreds of marathoners line up in the basement of the DC Armory to get their runner packet the day before the big race.

(Duration: 00:05)

0012_Atmosphere of Volunteer giving the runner kit for participants

<<01:40-02:07_Explaining what’s inside the package_This is a safety pin, when you are wearing the bib, attach to your shirt, so you wear this, FADE UNDER 

Thirty-four-year-old Stephanie Peterson is a mother from Alexandria, Virginia. She has her baby with her. She’s all set to run the half marathon which is around 13 miles. 

0009_Peterson_Is this your first time? It is not. It’s my first DC Rock n Roll, I have done other Rock n Roll at other half marathons. What makes you enjoy it? I don’t know, just running with people, it’s more fun than doing it alone (laugh).>>

(Duration: 00:03)

<<0008_Atmosphere at the Expo @DC Armory & downstairs (submit the form)>>

This race is not all about fun. Military officer Tina Golden is taking it more seriously.

Golden_My only goal is to finish it. I am not a fast runner, I am very slow. I started out with fifteen minutes mile last summer, and now I have done thirty minutes mile. If I can do that more than halfway through, I am happy>>

(Duration: 00:02)

<<0008_Atmosphere at the Expo @DC Armory & downstairs (submit the form)>> 

(Duration: 00:03)


Rock ’n’ Roll DC Marathon is an annual marathon event that started in 1997. Today it has become one of the largest running events in the country and around the world – cities like Las Vegas, Chicago, Madrid and Mexico City have hosted Rock n Roll Marathons. This year here in DC, 24 thousand runners have signed up. More than half of them are women.

Teyva Sammet is a spokesperson for the Rock ’n’ Roll Marathon. She says the participants come from 51 states and 47 countries from around the world. 

<<_Sammet_Which we think is a big deal. About ten years ago or something, that’s was not the case, there were all men, all people just trying to go for their personal records, but now we have a lot more women and we are proud of that>>

The privilege for women to join marathon doesn’t come easy. Considering the harsh physical challenges when running a full marathon, there is a misconception suggesting that women are not as capable as men of doing the race. That’s why in the past women were not allowed to join marathon sports. 

In 1972, the rule was overturned when federal law called Title IX was passed. The law gave women the same equal opportunity to participate in sports. However, there are some obstacles that still hinder women to run the marathon until the present time.

Bonnie Jean Morris is a professor in Women Studies at Georgetown University. She says the biggest obstacles for women is time…

(Duration: 00:16)

<< And I would say safety because women working out on their own doing with the problem of predators and rape and sexual violence. Often women have to adjust their workout schedule to run with a friend, run in groups, considered safety, not run after dark. >>

Men are victims of sexual assault as well…

<< But for women it’s a real issue and with that means, is in particular of women who is working out with shorts or legs revealed has always dealt with a certain kind of sexual harassment. >>

Morris also points out that time commitment as mothers also burdens women from participating the race. 

However, she sees the rising phenomenon of women running in the marathon is a good sign for equality in sports.

(Duration: 00:03)

(Atmosphere_people cheering the runners_clap hands_yelling_bands) fade in under. KEEP UNDER THIS WHOLE SECTION UNTIL THE  END

It’s racing day. The weather is a little bit windy and cloudy. Thousands of runners, men and women from all ages are at the starting line near the Washington Monument. 

Again, marathon spokesperson Teyva Sammet.

(Duration: 00:05)

<<We start and end completely in DC, pass Washington monuments, Lincoln Memorial,  it’s just a better way to explore the nation’s capital than on foot, run a race.>>

I get to enjoy the sights from the press truck. We are passing hills, silent roads along the sides of Potomac River, from Lincoln Memorial to McMillan Reservoir, down to the sides of Anacostia River until the finish start at RFK Stadium.


Time goes by and miles have passed. But, I haven’t seen any women runners. I only see two men leading the marathon full course. 

Until finally 31-year-old Lowry Nedeskio from Colombus, Ohio crosses the finish line. She is the second woman to finish. Her time was under three hours. After running 26 miles, she still can manage her breath and talk to me.

(Duration: 00:08)

<<Are you satisfied? I am, I mean this is my third marathon of the year, breaking the three, so I feel pretty good about it. Ready to give me a break, and step away from running, but yeah.. it feels amazin’ (laugh). So, is this beyond your target? Ya, I was hoping to do it a little bit better, but the hills and a lot of twists and turns in the course, so it was more challenging than I thought.>>

(Duration: 00:03)

(Atmosphere of the crowds cheering the runners)

But, the happiest woman in this year’s competition is Martha Nelson. She makes her way to become the first woman runner crossing the finish line.  

(Duration: 00:10)

<<Is this your first time? No, I won last year, but I won much more cleanly and I was feeling great at the end. This one was had to be tough, really tough. What makes it tough? Throwing up all over yourself at mile 25 (laugh)>>

<<Are you proud of yourself? I am proud that I was mentally tough.. it wasn’t my greatest race, I didn’t feel the best, things started to calm and down at the end…I knew the second girl wasn’t far behind me. I stuck it out and I threw up over myself and I kept going, it’s a mental victory>>

Mental victory. Maybe that’s the most rewarding thing all women who finish the marathon race can get. A content feeling and also a foolproof evidence that there is no gender boundary of running the race. 

(Duration: 00:03)

(Atmosphere of Lowry’s supporters cheering her_Supporters_”Lowry you did it!!!)