43 episodes

Starting Line 1928 is an oral history project documenting the lived experiences of female distance running pioneers

Starting Line 1928 Running Historians (Various)

    • History
    • 5.0 • 3 Ratings

Starting Line 1928 is an oral history project documenting the lived experiences of female distance running pioneers

    Sue Parks

    Sue Parks

    Sue Parks has had a storied career as an athlete and coach who continues to break barriers in the NCAA. Today, Sue is the director of cross-country and track and field at her alma mater, Eastern Michigan University. She’s one of the few women leading a track and field program at the Division 1 level. Years before she became a director, Parks was blazing her own path as one of the first women track stars in her home state. Her most memorable race was against Olympic gold medalist Madeline Manning (now Mims) in the Los Angeles Coliseum, where Parks ran her personal best in the 800 meters at the age of 16. She also competed on the U.S. team in the Pan American Games. 

    • 46 min
    Patti Catalano Dillonlano Dillon

    Patti Catalano Dillonlano Dillon

    In 1980, Patti Catalano (now Patti Catalano Dillon) became the first American woman to break 2:30 in the marathon. She has held American and world records at various distances—including the 5 mile, 10 mile, 10k, 15k, 20k, 30k and half marathon, and she has been inducted into the RRCA Distance Running Hall of Fame. She won the Honolulu Marathon four times and finished second at the Boston Marathon three times, in 1979, 1980 and 1981. 

    • 1 hr 46 min
    40 | Janet Romayko

    40 | Janet Romayko

    Janet Romayko is a veteran of 49 marathons and countless triathlons including the half Ironman distance. But what she is most thrilled with is her 50 consecutive finishes at the Manchester Road Race in Manchester CT, a 4.748-mile race held on Thanksgiving Day started in 1927. She loves running Manchester. “It’s very special to me. My family grew up there, are buried there. It’s a very sweet feeling I have for the town and the community. It’s truly coming home for me. It’s a wonderful experience,” states Romayko, who now lives in Hartford and still works as a clinical social worker.

    • 1 hr 18 min
    39 | Cheryl Toussaint

    39 | Cheryl Toussaint

    Cheryl Toussaint is the meet director of the Colgate Women’s Games and an Olympic silver medalist She grew up in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, and began running with the Atoms Track Club at age 13. There, Coach Fred Thompson nurtured her athletic talent—and encouraged her academically. Cheryl earned an academic scholarship to New York University and kept training with the Atoms, eventually making the Olympics in 1972; she competed in Munich in the 800 meters and 4x400 relay, where she helped the team make the final—and eventually, win silver—despite losing a shoe. She also began assisting Thompson with his other venture, the Colgate Women’s Games, and took over as meet director when he retired in 2014. It’s the longest running track and field series for girls and young women in the United States, open to all young women from elementary school through college and beyond, and has launched the careers of many other Olympians and successful women in other fields. 

    • 1 hr 34 min
    Francie Larrieu Smith

    Francie Larrieu Smith

    Francie Larrieu Smith was the youngest woman 1500-meter runner and the oldest woman in any track and field event the U.S. ever sent to the Olympics. Her running career spans five Olympics and multiple distances. Her best Olympic finish was fifth place in the 10,000-meter event at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, the first running of the event.  She was the flag bearer for the U. S. Olympic Team at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.  During her 30-year athletic career, she established 36 United States records and 12 world bests in distances ranging from 1000 meters to 10,000 meters.

    • 55 min
    Krystine Beneke

    Krystine Beneke

    Krystine Beneke started her athletic career at a very young age, dancing for the Houston Ballet
    Academy in Houston. Simultaneously, she began running with her father through their neighborhood. Eventually, Krystine began competing in middle-school and high-school track events. In middle school, she competed in 400s and hurdles. In high school, she enjoyed a variety of distances and events from 300 hurdles to 4 x 4 to two milers. After college, she began a career in banking—and started to focus on longer-distance races, starting with a New York Road Runners 15K that she ran with a friend. She found she had a natural ability as a runner, and completed 15 full marathons and 26 half-marathons, all while building a start-up digital IP acquisition company. Eventually, Krystine went on to qualify for and run the Boston Marathon in 2014, with a PR time of 2:59:47. Although Krystine has put running for competition aside for the moment, she has found joy and success in other pursuits, such as painting. 

    • 59 min

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