Today is primary day here in New Jersey. My polling place is about 3 miles away, depending on the route. It is a beautiful day, and I needed to run – what better way to exercise my right to vote than by running to the polls?
Here I am doing two things that to most people today seem pretty basic – voting and running. However, those two activities in which I just participated were not always there for women.
Women in the US were given the right to vote in 1920. Less than 100 years ago. Women had to fight long and hard for that right, and sadly, we still have to fight for equality. I do not take my right to vote for granted.
So today I voted. With pride. And a profound sense of gratitude to all the fearless women that paved the way before me and my fellow women voters.
And, as part of my training plan for November’s New York City Marathon, I ran to my polling place. And that, too, is a right I do not take for granted. Until 1960, women were not allowed to run any distance further than 200 meters in the Olympics. And until 1984, women weren’t allowed to run the marathon in the Olympics.
Because of our delicate natures and the possibility of our reproductive organs falling out. To the Kathrine Switzer’s of the world, who pioneered women’s distance running, fighting tirelessly to ensure that I can run without having to physically defend myself on a marathon course…to you, I am grateful.
And those two rights were the reason for a recent race in Seneca Falls NY that I was honored to be a part of – the Women’s Right To Run 19k – celebrating the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote.
So today I ran, and I voted. Gratefully. Fearlessly.
And I ran again, heading towards home, back on the same trail.
And came face to face with three adult bears. Two on the trail and one taking a bath in a shallow pond.
I am grateful.
That I – unlike many women around the world – safely live in an area where I can experience such beautiful wildlife.
That I – unlike many women around the world – have the freedom to run where and when I want.
That I – unlike many women around the world – can vote for whomever I choose.
That I – unlike many women around the world – have the freedom to be fearless.