April 6, 2016
I recently came across an interesting article on Roberta “Bobbi” Gibb, the first woman to run the Boston Marathon on April 19, 1966 (Merry Lepper was actually the first woman to run a marathon in 1963, and Karen Switzer was the first woman to do so as a numbered entry in 1967). This month marks the 50th anniversary of Gibb’s historic run and the 119th anniversary of the Boston Marathon itself, which takes place on April 18th.
The first Boston Marathon took place on Patriot’s Day, April 19, 1897. Always held on Patriots’ Day, the race was inspired by the success of the first modern-day marathon competition in the 1896 Summer Olympics, which was held in Athens the previous year. The Boston Marathon is the world’s oldest annual marathon and ranks as one of the world’s best-known road racing events.
Coincidentally, the same year that the Boston Marathon made its debut Denmark’s own Susanne Lindberg sped right to the top of the long distance racing books by breaking the world record for riding 1,000 kilometers. At just 24 years old, and just shy of 100 lbs., the petite Lindberg accomplished her feat in 54 hours and 18 minutes, nearly 2 hours faster than the leading man.
With history like that it is no surprise that Denmark is a cycling country, which I touched on in these previous posts: A Lovely Day for a Cykeltur, Destination: Danish, How to be Danish, and the post on the adventures of Miss Mary Thorsen.
Another interesting jubilæum (anniversary) that is worth noting is that of the very first meeting of the 12 Founding Women of the Danish Home of Chicago. March 11th marked 125 years since these twelve inspiring women met in Emma Thorsen’s parlor in 1891 to make it their mission to open a home to care for elderly Danish-Americans. In 1902, the Foreningen for Danske Alderdomshjem (The Danish Old Peoples’ Home Society) finally opened the doors to The Danish Old People’s Home, where it still stands today (and the place Mormor calls home). What an amazing piece of Chicago history! You can read more about that momentous meeting and the women who made history here.
Although it’s hard to believe these April showers (both rain and snow) will ever bring May flowers, and warmer weather, at least we can celebrate these very momentous spring anniversaries instead!
Coasters For A Cause at Six Flags Great America – May 14 or 15 – Special discounted rate tickets of $32 are available and a portion of the sales will go to The Danish Home. To order tickets, visit www.sixflags.com/greatamerica and enter the promo code DANISHHOME into the upper right hand corner. Follow this link to find out more: https://danishhomeofchicago.org/the-hope-chest/the-hope-chest2/upcoming-events/