Charlotte lettis richardson

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American athlete and coach Charlotte Lettis Richardson has fought for the rights of women runners for nearly 50 years


School sports coaches don’t come more awesome than Charlotte Lettis Richardson

An American coach for over 45 years, from school to club level, Charlotte Lettis Richardson has fought to change the face of women’s running, both in the USA and around the world. As director of the 2005 documentary, Run Like A Girl, Richardson put the spotlight on what it means to be a competitive female athlete. The film focused on three female runners from different generations, and the battles fought by each to ensure equality.

As a successful athlete herself, Richardson achieved national and international success in distances from the 800m to 30K. In 1972, she started a women’s running club, decades before the rest of the world caught on to the growth of women runners, while at the same time competing successfully herself. She won the 1975 L’eggs Mini Marathon, and made the Olympic trials in the 1500m in 1976.

Disgracefully, before competing in a 10,000m race in Puerto Rico in the late 1970s, Richardson and her fellow female competitors were asked to disrobe in front of doctors to prove they were women. This was the era when women were still forbidden to take part in long-distance running (anything over 1,500m) and it would be years before the Olympic marathon would open up to women for the first time, in 1984 in Los Angeles.

Richardson fought back and founded the Women’s Running Coaches Collective (WRCC),

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