2012- American marathon superstars Shalane Flanagan, Desiree Davila and Kara Goucher win the top spots at the U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon with record times. They are only three of the predicted seven million female who will compete in road races across the nation in this year alone.
2009- Women’s Running magazine debuts its first issue in January, becoming the first-ever women's-specific magazine. The magazine holds the first Women's Half Marathon that November, a race that will become a part of the largest women’s half marathon series in the nation.
2007- Marathon world-record holder Paula Radcliffe wins the New York City Marathon just 10 months after giving birth to her first child. The image of Britain’s Radcliffe wrapped in the Union Jack while carrying her baby daughter after the race serves as inspiration for mother runners everywhere.
2004- Nicole Deboom raises spectators’ eyebrows when she wins Ironman Wisconsin while wearing a running skirt. That same year, the athlete founds Skirt Sports, thereby changing the go-to race-day outfit of women across the world.
2002- Ultrarunner Pam Reed wins the Badwater Ultramarathon, a 135-mile course that snakes through Death Valley in the middle of July when temperatures sore to 120 degrees. Reed places first outright beating all the other women and men--proving that when it comes to toughness, ladies have it in the spaids.
1996- Social worker and Hawaii Ironman triathlete Molly Barker founds Girls on the Run with the goal of helping girls ages 8 to 12 gain self confidence by training for a 5k. Barker's first program includes 13 students in Charlotte, N.C., but the program soon spreads to 173 cities across North America with over 10,000 participants.
1994- At the age of 40, Oprah Winfrey crosses the finish line at the Marine Corps Marathon after dropping more than 80 pounds. The media mogul illustrates that marathons aren't just for athletes, but for anyone who's wiling to work hard. "Running is the greatest metaphor for life," says Winfrey, "because you get out of it what you put into it."
1987- Jackie Joyner-Kersee becomes the first female athlete to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated three years after her silver medal win in the 1984 Olympic heptathlon. Within the next decade, Joyner-Kersee will win an additional three gold and two bronze medals, making her one of the most decorated women runners of all time.
1986- Mother runners everywhere cheer the first jogging stoller made for two children when Baby Jogger, a company developed two years prior by a dad who wanted more time to spend with his infant son, releases The Twinner.
1984- After years of hard work and lobbying by passionate female and male athletes alike, the women’s Olympic Marathon makes its debut in the Los Angeles Summer Olympics. American runner Joan Benoit becomes the first female gold medalist in the event. She later says of running the final leg into the Olympic stadium, "Once I passed through that tunnel, I know things would never be the same."
1979- Grete Waitz solidifies her soon-to-be-eight-race winning streak with a second first-place finish in the New York City Marathon. Waitz crosses the line in 2:27:33, shattering her own world record, and becoming the first woman in history to finish 26.2 miles in under 2.5 hours.
1977- Fed up with feeling uncomfortable while exercising, runners Lisa Lindahl, Polly Smith and Hinda Schreiber fashion a top out of two jockstraps sewn together. The sports bra—dubbed Jogbra—is born. Moving Comfort is founded the same year, and releases the first women-specific running short.
1975- Title IX goes into effect following a 1972 ruling by the U.S. Congress to discourage unequal federal financial aid and university support for women's programs. At this time, the average number of women's sports teams for a college is 2.1.
1972- The AAU allows women to register for marathons, but they are required to start at a separate time or starting line than men. In the 1972 New York City Marathon, women refuse to subscribe to the “special” start, and sit down for 10 minutes at the starting line until the men’s gun goes off.
1967- Kathrine Switzer runs the Boston Marathon with an official bib by registering under the name K.V. Switzer. Race official Jock Semple attempts to pull Switzer off the course mid-race, but is body blocked by Switzer's boyfriend. Switzer finished the race in 4:20 and is subsequently banned from the AAU.
1961- The Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) bans women from competing officially in all U.S. road races. Nineteen-year-old runner Julia Chase enters a 6.5-mile road race in Chicopee, Mass., in an attempt to challenge the ban. While her run garners media attention, her plight is largely regarded as a spectacle. New York Journal Amercian writes: "Miss Chase said she is 5-4 1/2, weighs 118 pounds and does not know her other dimensions. (Eyewitnesses report her other dimensions are very good.)"
1960- Women are allowed to participate in five running events in the Summer Olympics held in Rome--as opposed to the 16 races open to men. After being banned for 32 years due to medical concerns that the event was too taxing for the "frail" female gender, the women's 800 meters is reintroduced. Soviet Union runner Irina Press wins the race, while sister Tamara gets the gold in the shot put. Western journalists dub the two women "the Press brothers."
In the past 50 years, women have stepped out from the sidelines and on to the track. Here’s a look at five decades of making history while kicking butt. Yeah, we run like girls—try to keep up!