September 20, 2021

Topanga 10K—The Boston Marathon Connection, May 11



Topanga 10K—The Boston Marathon Connection, May 11

Jackie Hanson finishes the Boston Marathon in 1973 at 2:48.

Instead of running the Topanga 10K race on the first day of Topanga Days, this year’s 10K will happen on Saturday, May 11, at Trippet Ranch in Topanga State Park, starting at 8 a.m. Entry forms are available at local stores or runners can register online at:, with details available at

The Jacqueline Hansen Tough Topanga 10K is a benefit sponsored by Run Topanga in cooperation with State of California Department of Parks and Recreation on a USAT&F Sanctioned Course at Trippet Ranch. All proceeds go to youth sport and fitness in the Santa Monica Mountains. Trippet Ranch is located in Topanga State Park, 20825 Entrada Rd, Topanga, Ca 90290.


The Topanga 10K connection to the Boston Marathon is Jackie Hansen, a Topanga resident for whom the race is named. Hansen was tasked with reviving the Topanga 10K after it lapsed into hiatus in the late 80s. In 1973 she also ran (and won) the women’s section of the Boston Marathon before there was much, if any acceptance of women running marathons.

An April 1 interview by Amby Burfoot in Runners World magazine entitled “Pioneer Jacqueline Hansen on 1973 Boston Win,” (, began: “Jacqueline Hansen, one of the most important women in the evolution of women’s distance running, will return to this year’s Boston Marathon 40 years after she won Boston in 1973….”

In it, Hansen recalled the dramatic experience: “In 1984, Boston was my big-drama marathon. I had been working so hard to get the marathon into the Olympics, … that I hadn’t had time to qualify for the first U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials for women. Boston was the last day to qualify…

“It was a cold day with some hail and I eventually became hypothermic. At 25 miles, I blacked out. I had just passed a clock that indicated I was on 2:44 pace with a mile to go—an easy qualifier. When I came around, I was on a hospital cot wrapped in blankets, my teeth chattering and an IV in my arm. The first thing I said was, “Did I finish?” It turned out I had. I ran 2:48, good enough to qualify, but I had somehow lost four minutes in the last mile, which I don’t even remember.” In 1979, marathoner Jacqueline Hansen, who had broken the 2:40 time barrier in 1975, teamed with other runners from around the world to form the International Runners Committee to lobby for the inclusion of women's long-distance races in international competition.” The successful outcome of this was the first Olympic Marathon for women at the 1984 L.A. Olympic Games in Los Angeles.

In 2013, in celebration of the 40th anniversary of her win, the Boston Marathon asked Jacqueline Hansen to start the Elite Women’s Section of the Boston Marathon. Three runners she had trained were running that day and this is how she remembers it:

“I stood on the starting line, proud and pleased to officially start the women's race. There stood the number one American, Shalane Flanagan. It was actually her mother, Cheryl, a former world record holder and my teammate, who inspired me to take up the marathon.

“In a short speech, I said at this year's start, ‘I have run a mile in your shoes, and I wish I were standing beside you now. Just remember that a lot of women before you fought very hard for our right to run, so give it all you've got.’ Shalane gave me a thumbs-up and they were off. That began the day on a high note. It continued to be a glorious day right through the finish of my first two runners, Charlie Gardner and Deborah Hafford (Palisades runner). “But before I could return to the finish line for my third runner, I felt two explosions, from across Copley Plaza and in that moment everything about the day had changed for the worst. Eventually, we were reunited with Jeaney Garcia, my third runner, and she, along with everyone I personally knew, were all safe and sound, but we were and still are somber.”