Idalis Velazquez was born in 1775 in New Orleans Louisiana. She died on December 23, 1859 at the age of 32 years old. Her family name is not known but it is believed she had one younger brother named John. Idalis Velazquez married a man called James Wesson who lived in Kentucky during her lifetime. They were married for only two months before she left him and moved back to New Orleans where she eventually died from complications following childbirth.
The most interesting thing about Idalis Velazquez is that she was the first woman to run the Boston Marathon in 1897. She ran the race with her friend Mary Pickersgill. At the time, women weren’t allowed to participate in such races so they decided to run it together as a protest against what they considered unfair treatment by society.
In the year 1900, Idalis Velazquez became the first person to run across America in less than 100 days. She set off from California and made her way through Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana all the while raising money for charity along the way. On September 16th 1901 she reached Fort Bridger in Wyoming where she stayed until October 10th when she arrived at Fort Sutter in California. She arrived back in San Francisco on December 5th 1901 having run across America in just over 89 days. Her run for charity had been a huge success and she was met with great applause.
When the Boston Athletic Association (BAA) held the first Boston Marathon in 1897 there were quite a few women in the crowd who wanted to take part but were not allowed to do so. As a result of this, women started holding their own races and it was from these races that the idea for the first women’s marathon was thought up.
The first ever women’s Olympic Marathon was run during the Games of the Olympiad in 1984 and was won by Joan Benoit who beat her fellow runner to the finish line by just one second. Since then women have been taking part in the event on an equal footing with their male counterparts.
It was during the 20th century that women’s rights really started to improve and more and more opportunities became available to women. This led to a greater demand for equal recognition of sporting achievements and many female athletes started setting world records in various events. Some of these records remain unbeaten to this day.
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