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Mighty Moe: The True Story of a Thirteen-Year-Old Women’s Running Revolutionary

Farrar. Oct. 2019. 320p. index. notes. photos. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780374311605.
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Gr 4-8–In May 1967, at a small race in Toronto, 13-year-old Maureen (“Moe”) Wilton broke the world record for a woman running a marathon. Yet there was no prize money, no trophy, and no fanfare. No one seemed to notice this incredible feat except Moe’s family, friends, and coach. At the time, women were not welcome in marathons. Long-distance races were considered bad for the female body, causing potential damage to the reproductive system. Paralleling Moe’s story is that of Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to officially register to run the Boston Marathon. She also competed in the same Toronto race as Moe. She registered with her initials to disguise her gender, and when a race official spotted her along the way and realized Switzer was a woman, he tried to force her off the course. It wasn’t until the fall of 1972 that the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) made it official that women could participate in marathons. Even then, they had to start 10 minutes behind the men. Following the thread of Moe’s running career, Swaby and Fox relay the history of women athletes and the sport of running. Enhanced with photographs of Moe during her running days and chapter and source notes, the text reads smoothly and has a somewhat conversational tone.
VERDICT Facts and statistics are seamlessly integrated in this title that will be especially appealing to sports aficionados and students of women’s history. Recommended for all middle grade collections.

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