Arlene Pieper Stine: First Woman To Finish Sanctioned Marathon In US
What started off as a passion for adventure has now turned into a legacy with Arlene Pieper Stine running through Pikes Peak trails 60 years ago. On Aug. 7, 1959, the Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph noted that Arlene Pieper had completed the marathon. The then 29 years old Stine, became the first woman to complete a sanctioned marathon in the United States, in 1959. The Colorado Springs health club owner finished the 26-mile race, with its gruelling 8,000 feet of vertical gain to the 14,115 summits. She conquered Pikes Peak in nine hours and 16 minutes. In order to commemorate this event, hundreds of women gather together to participate in the Pikes Peak mountain marathon. Pikes Peak is one of the country’s toughest and highest altitude racecourses.
- Arlene Pieper Stine became the first woman to complete a sanctioned marathon in the United States, in 1959.
- She finished the 26-mile race, with its gruelling 8,000 feet of vertical gain to the 14,115 summits.
- In order to commemorate this event, hundreds of women gather together to participate in the Pikes Peak mountain marathon.
Remembering the legacy of Pikes Peak mountain
Sharing her impeccable Pikes Peak mountain journey she said in a 2014 interview, “I still remember it like it was yesterday. You can be a wonderful wife and mother, but doing the race showed me that if there’s something you really want to do, you should go for it.” Sixty years ago her nine-year-old daughter, Kathy and her husband also ran with her to offer moral support.
She participated in the marathon to promote her Health Studio. “In those days, we had no aid stations like there are now. My running shoes were actually just those sneakers you get from the five and dime.” Further adding to this she said, “About a week after the race, all 10 of my toenails fell off!” The Colorado Sun reported.
The 89-year-old Stain still revisits the Manitou Springs to mark the official start of the race. “What a thrill to look out and see all these people getting ready to run,” she said. Staine is a cult figure for the local racing community and she is inducted into the Colorado Springs Sports Hall of Fame.
Running for a reason
Satine has inspired many young runners so much so that even today group of women, dressed up like Satine, run through the Pikes Peak trails. The race director Ron Ilgin said, “The race has captured the imagination of so many runners. Racers range from age 16 to the oldest runner registered, Bill Moyle, 80, of Lone Tree, a 30-time finisher.”
Seventy year old Susan Cogswell from Colorado first ran Pikes Peak trail in 1983. Even today she participates in the marathon to preserve the Pikes Peak and Staine’s legacy. “My family has kept me going and inspired my running. Back when I started, I, of course, had my family and I worked but running is what I gave to myself. It became how I identified myself,” said Cogswell. Further adding to this she said, “Getting sweaty, dirty, and taking on the challenge of the trail is what I love most about the peak. It’s where I feel I belong.”
Staine has inspired numerous runners to chase their dreams and do whatever you want to do. The challenging trails of Pikes Peak Mountains are still one of the favourite marathon track for young adventurists.
Image credit: The Colorado Sun
Divya Tripathi is an intern with SheThePeople.TV