Bobbi Gibb Marathon Sculpture Project
Joan Benoit Samuelson and a long list of Boston Marathon champions have united to form the Bobbi Gibb Marathon Sculpture Project. The project’s goal is to raise funds to erect a sculpture of Gibb on the Boston Marathon course. In 1966, Gibb popped out from behind forsythia bushes in Hopkinton to become the first woman to run Boston.
“As the first woman to finish the Boston Marathon, Bobbi Gibb opened up the door for all of us who followed,” notes Samuelson, a two-time Boston champ and winner of the first Olympic Marathon for women in 1984. “Without her courage and determination, we might never have gained the chance.”
The Gibb marathon sculpture has been created by Gibb herself. She is an accomplished painter and sculptor who studied at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts in the mid-1960s--at the same time that she began running longer distances. “For 50 years, it had been my dream to sculpt a life-size woman runner to represent all the powerful women who have run Boston since 1966,” says Gibb.
The Bobbi Gibb Marathon Sculpture Project has been coordinated by the 26.2 Foundation, a Hopkinton-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit that has helped install other marathon statues in and around Hopkinton--all statues of male officials or runners. “We believe it is long past time to recognize the Boston Marathon’s great women runners,” says Tim Kilduff, of the 26.2 Foundation. “The fact that Boston’s first woman runner is also a great sculptor made this project absolutely unique and appropriate."
Project update, autumn 2020: The clay has dried, the sculpture delivered to the foundry, the mold made, the bronze cast. Final finishing by the team at Buccacio Sculpture Services in Canton, MA is all that remains to be done before ‘The Girl Who Ran’ is unveiled and installed on the Boston Marathon race course in downtown Hopkinton. When Covid-19 concerns abate, the Foundation will be celebrating its unveiling in proper fashion, to honor Bobbi’s pioneering efforts and to thank the many generous donors who made its completion possible.