Joan Benoit Samuelson and a long list of Boston Marathon champions have united to form the Bobbi Gibb Marathon Sculpture Project. The project’s goal is to raise funds to erect a sculpture of Gibb on the Boston Marathon course. In 1966, Gibb popped out from behind forsythia bushes in Hopkinton to become the first woman to run Boston.
Currently there is no woman statue on the Boston Marathon course. The 26.2 Foundation wants to change that and honor the contributions of women in the sport of running.
“As the first woman to finish the Boston Marathon, Bobbi Gibb opened up the door for all of us who followed,” notes Samuelson, a two-time Boston champ and winner of the first Olympic Marathon for women in 1984. “Without her courage and determination, we might never have gained the chance.”
The Gibb marathon sculpture will actually be created by Gibb herself. She is an accomplished painter and sculptor who studied at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts in the mid-1960s--at the same time that she began running longer distances. “For 50 years, it has been my dream to sculpt a life-size woman runner to represent all the powerful women who have run Boston since 1966,” says Gibb.
The Bobbi Gibb Marathon Sculpture Project will be coordinated by the 26.2 Foundation, a Hopkinton-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit that has helped install other marathon statues in and around Hopkinton--all statues of male officials or runners. “We believe it is long past time to recognize the Boston Marathon’s great women runners,” says Tim Kilduff, of the 26.2 Foundation. “The fact that Boston’s first woman runner is also a great sculptor makes this project absolutely unique and appropriate."
The Bobbi Gibb Marathon Sculpture Project plans to raise funds from corporate sources, but primarily from modest donations by women’s running supporters worldwide. We hope you will support this important project so more people will be inspired to run.
Our campaign is based on the book - The Girl Who Ran by Frances Poleti and Christina Yee and Illustrated by Susanne Chapman. The children’s book tells about the courage of Bobbi Gibb as the first woman to run the Boston Marathon.