BAA Announces Honorary Women’s Team for 126th Boston Marathon

Eight pioneering women will run to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the official Women’s First Division in 1972

BOSTON — On International Women’s Day, the Boston Athletic Association (BAA) today announced a team of eight women who will compete in the 126th Boston Marathon in April, honoring the top eight finishers in the first official female peloton in 1972.

The honorary team is made up of eight women who have made a powerful impact in areas ranging from athletics to human rights. Among the eight women is Valerie Rogosheskeone of the original eight finishers in 1972, returning 50 years later to cross the finish line again on Boylston Street.

“I’m so looking forward to returning to Boston this year with my daughters to celebrate 50 years of welcoming women to the Marathon,” Rogosheske said. “In 1972, Wellesley students shouted ‘Straight up, sis!’ At the 25th anniversary, the students looked like my daughters, and this year they could be my granddaughters!I celebrate progress across generations as women claim their place at the starting line.

Joining Valérie in the honorary team are Mary Ngugi, Manuela Schär, and Melissa Stockwell, each of whom will compete at the front of the race as part of the John Hancock Professional Athlete Team. Football and soccer star Sarah FullerFormer U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team Kristine Lily, Guinness World Record Holder Jocelyne Rivasand running activist Verna Volker complete the team of honor established for this year’s race.

Below is information about each of the honorary team members. The honorary team will be celebrated throughout race weekend at various Boston Marathon events and activities.


  • Valerie Rogosheske is a top-eight finisher of 1972. Valerie is a Minnesota native and had three top-ten finishes in the Boston Marathon, finishing sixth in 1972 (4:29:32), ninth in 1973 (3: 51:12), and eighth in 1974 (3:09:38). This year, instead of lining up among eight participants, she will be supported and surrounded by 14,000 other women ready to complete the 26.2-mile course, including her daughters Abigail and Allie.
  • In addition to being a world-class athlete, Marie Ngugi has been a vocal leader in raising awareness against domestic violence. Following the death of professional athlete Agnes Tirop last year, Mary helped found the Women’s Athletic Alliance and led countless discussions, including with political leaders, to continue the fight against domestic violence and inequality. . Mary placed third in the Boston Marathon last year and is a former BAA Distance Medley winner.
  • Manuela Schär is one of the most dominant wheelchair racers in recent history, having won three Boston Marathon titles and the last three Abbott World Marathon Majors series crowns. At the Paralympic Games in Tokyo, Schär won five medals (including a pair of gold) in distances ranging from 400 meters to marathon. She is the current world record holder for the marathon and the Boston course record (1:28:17), and remains the only female wheelchair athlete to break the 1:30 barrier.
  • A month after being deployed to Iraq as a Second Lieutenant in the US Army Transportation Corps, Melissa Stockwell became the first American female soldier to lose a limb in action after her vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb. Melissa was later honored with a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star for her service. Four years later, she became the first Iraq War veteran to qualify for the Paralympic Games, competing in swimming at the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing. Melissa competed in paratriathlon at the Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo and is a Paralympic bronze medalist. She will be competing in the para-athletics (T63) division of the Boston Marathon for the first time, looking to add another title to her impressive resume.
  • Sarah Fuller has been a fierce athlete since the age of five, when she started playing soccer. She made history in 2020 as the first woman to dress for an SEC football game as a student-athlete at Vanderbilt University. Two weeks later, she again made history as the first woman to play and score in a Power 5 football game, scoring a pair of extra points for the Commodores. She studied medicine, health and society at Vanderbilt and is currently pursuing her master’s degree at the University of North Texas, where she is also a goalie for the football team. This summer, she will play for Minnesota Aurora FC of the USL W League. This will be Fuller’s first Boston Marathon.
  • Kristine Lily played 23 years for the United States women’s national soccer team, is a two-time World Cup champion, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, and has played in more international soccer matches than any other player – male or female. woman – in the world (354). Lilly played professionally in the Boston area for the Boston Breakers from 2001-2003 and 2009-2010. She is one of the most famous athletes in women’s soccer history and was inducted into the United States Olympic Hall of Fame in 2012 and the United States Soccer Hall of Fame in 2014. She is also a co- author of Central, a book about teamwork. A Massachusetts resident, Lilly will be competing in her second Boston Marathon after running a decade ago in 2012.
  • Jocelyne Rivas is a proud dreamer (DACA recipient) who came to the United States from El Salvador when she was six years old. In El Salvador, she was told she probably wouldn’t be able to walk, but with physical therapy and a continued focus on recovery, she proved that prediction wrong. She was inspired to run after seeing friends at the 2013 Los Angeles Marathon and soon set herself the goal of completing 100 marathons. In November 2021, she completed her 100th marathon at the age of 24, making her the Guinness World Record holder for the youngest woman to run 100 marathons and the world record holder for the youngest Latina. to have ever done so. Boston will be his 112th marathon.
  • Verna Volker is the founder of Native Women Running, whose mission is to build and nurture a community that showcases and encourages Native women runners on and off the reserve. A mother of four, member of the Navajo Nation and brand ambassador, she balances family, running and community activism. Verna created Native Women Running to give more visibility to Indigenous women runners across North America. She is part of the leadership team of the Running Industry Diversity Coalition, which focuses on improving inclusion, visibility and access for Black, Indigenous and People of Color in sport. Verna runs on behalf of Wings of America.

About Ethel Partin

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