Saturday, April 2, 2016

"A Long Time Coming" by Jacqueline Hansen

"Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints on your heart." ~ Eleanor Roosevelt quoted on p. 161 of "A Long Time Coming"

When I saw that Jacqueline Hansen was going to be the guest speaker at the Hyannis Marathon Weekend pre-race pasta dinner I did not know anything about her other than she had won the Boston Marathon in 1973 as was advertised on the website.

We sat enthralled listening to her stories about when she ran the Boston Marathon to qualify for the Olympic trials, all the work she did to get equality for women endurance runners and fielded questions from the audience with Geoffrey Smith and Bill Rodgers.

After the dinner, Tom and I met Jacqueline and purchased her book.

It is dog eared and well loved as I took Jacqueline's journey with her from, as she calls herself, "a child of the sixties, who became a feminist in the seventies and a soccer mom in the eighties. I suppose I spent a good deal of the nineties and beyond, on giving back to the sport that gave me such rich life experiences. Looking back, I would do it all over again in a heartbeat."

We are so blessed that Jacqueline did it all the first time, working through injuries and health issues and sharing all the trials and triumphs she experienced as a runner and a pioneer for women's equality in the sport of distance running.

I could hear her voice coming through this intimate portrayal of her life on and off the roads.

From her Boston Marathon run to qualify for the Olympic trials:
"When I woke up on the hospital cot with an IV bottle hanging overhead and dog tags around my neck, in a woolen blanket, the doctor said, 'We're keeping you here for observation. Your temperature is below 93-degrees' I responded with teeth chattering out of control, 'Did I finish? What was my time?' He made a joke to the nurse that, although I was dying, I'd like to know my time. She went away to find out. My watch was still running so I did not know and had to know."

She creates a beautiful tapestry of journal entries, blog posts, narrative and inspirational quotes that lead off the chapters.

Chapter 19 is preceded by this quote, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed it's the only thing that ever does." ~Margaret Mead

With passion, leadership, dedication and bringing together a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens, Jacqueline Hansen paved the road for women to be able to run endurance events in the Olympics. The trail she blazed and the story she tells will capture your heart and captivate your mind.

It's such an exciting time here in Boston as we get ready to celebrate 50 years of women's running and honoring Bobbi Gibb, the first woman to run the Boston Marathon throughout the events of the 2016 Boston Marathon festivities.

I feel incredibly honored and privileged to have met Jacqueline Hansen in Hyannis and recommend her book to all of you. She left a footprint on my heart when she came out on the course of the Hyannis 10K. She stopped me and hugged me and whispered to me, "Run with all your heart." And I did feeling the touch of a champion blessing my journey.

Jacqueline Hansen's heart, humility, honesty and reflections will leave a footprint on your heart as you turn the pages of "A Long Time Coming."

To your health and wellness,

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