During this year’s Boston Marathon, Emma Bates placed fifth among women and became the second fastest American woman in Boston Marathon history. Here’s more on the American runner — and the history of women running in the Boston Marathon.

Who is Emma Bates?

Bates, a native Minnesotan, is an American runner. The 30-year-old ran her first Boston Marathon Monday and became the second fastest U.S. woman in Boston Marathon history, per CBS News.

How did Emma Bates place in the Boston Marathon 2023?

According to CBS, Bates placed in fifth among women. Her time was two hours, 22 minutes and 10 seconds — the second fastest time for an American woman. Her average mile pace was five minutes and 27 seconds.

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As Bates told CBS, while she stayed in the lead pack during the race, “that wasn’t always the plan.”

“It was more to stay in the front or second pack and try and pounce in the end,” Bates said. “But I felt really good and it felt really easy until like two miles to go.”

Bates said she had always planned to break a record. “I always thought that I would do something at Boston like this someday.”

“And now that it has come to fruition, really means I have a bright future ahead. I really feel like my Boston Marathon that just jump-started my career but I just really have all the confidence now that I’ve done that,” Bates said.

Bates hopes to “beat the American record this fall” and qualify for the Olympics, per CBS.

What is the fastest women’s Boston Marathon time?

Runner Buzunesh Deba had the fastest running time in 2014 of two hours, 19 minutes and 59 seconds, per NBC Sports.

But her victory wasn’t without scandal. Kenyan runner Rita Jeptoo originally held the record and first place in 2014’s Boston Marathon, per NBC. But the 35-year-old runner tested positive for performance enhancing drugs in late 2014 and was stripped of her win.

Deba was bumped up to first place.

When were women allowed to run the Boston Marathon?

According to The New York Times, women were allowed to run the Boston Marathon in 1972.

“In a move that officials hope will not offend more militant liberationists, a separate but equal category will be established for women competitors,” The New York Times reported at the time. 

Then-race director Will Cloney told The New York Times that including women in the race was “very much an experiment.”

The New York Times wrote at the time, “How many women will start the grueling 26‐mile, 385‐yard race, and how many will finish in less than four hours to have their statistics duly recorded with (others) remains uncertain.”

Cloney noted that he received “only about seven official entries from women” at the time.

Why weren’t women allowed to run the Boston Marathon?

According to The New York Times, women weren’t allowed to run the Boston Marathon because race organizers thought that they were “physiologically incapable.”

Who was the first woman to run the Boston Marathon?

Roberta Gibb was the first woman to unofficially run the Boston Marathon, per The New York Times. She disguised herself as a man and hid behind bushes by the start line. Her race time was three hours, 21 minutes and 40 seconds.

Katherine Switzer’s historic 1967 run

Perhaps most famously, runner Katherine Switzer was the first woman to officially run the Boston Marathon in 1967. According to the Boston Athletic Association, “Switzer did not clearly identify herself as a female on the race application and was issued a bib number.”

Switzer relayed her experience in her memoir “Marathon Woman,” revealing that she had been training roughly a year before she ran the Boston Marathon.

Switzer recounts her experience running the Boston Marathon, saying that the marathon started on a high note but quickly took a turn.

According to Switzer, “a man with overcoat and felt hat” tried to grab at her, causing her to “stutter step.” This seemingly started a wave of aggression — men, runners and spectators alike, began to verbally and physically harass Switzer.

One man tried grabbing her bib number, yelling at her to get out of the race and “give me back those numbers!” Another man grabbed the back of her shirt. Others began grabbing at her while the press caught up, allegedly shouting: “What are you trying to prove?” and “When are you going to quit?”

Eventually the heckling died down, allowing Switzer to finish the race. Reflecting on the experience at the time, Switzer said that the man she ran with thought it was “a one-off event.”

“But I knew it was a lot more than that,” Switzer said. “A lot more.”

Switzer has since run the Boston Marathon eight times, per her official website.

Who was the first woman to win the Boston Marathon?

According to The New York Times, Nina Kuscsik was the first woman to win the Boston Marathon in 1972, completing the race in three hours, 10 minutes and 26 seconds. She told The New York Times at the time, “It’s a great honor. I hope that allowing women to compete officially will encourage others to take running more seriously.”