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How the race was won
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So here’s what one doctor told women runners who wanted to compete in distance races back in the early 1960s: “Your uterus might fall out.” Many physicians back then -- only a half-century ago -- believed females would risk their femininity and reproductive health if they ran distances longer than half a mile, which was the maximum length the all-important Amateur Athletic Union would sanction for women. (You think maybe the East Germans and Soviets were feeding their women sprinters some hormones back then? Some of them had beards and husky voices, and looked a lot more like Igor than Helga.) But in November of 1961, a 19-year-old student named Julia Chase defied authorities, finishing a 4.75-mile race in Manchester, Conn., a competition that at that time was one of the most prominent races in the country.