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50 years after her historic Boston Marathon debut, Val Rogosheske is the center of attention

Val Rogosheske was one of eight women in the first official women's field at the Boston Marathon in 1972, and she returned to honor the 50th anniversary of her debut in 2022.David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

At age 25, Val Rogosheske made history.

One of eight women to compete in the first Boston Marathon women’s field in of the Boston Marathon in 1972, her race bib that year was “F7.”

She is now 75, and on Monday, 50 years after her first appearance, she returned to be part of a field of 12,000 women. This time, her bib read “1972.”

“It’s pretty crazy, you know, to start with eight women, and then to see all these women on the streets, I’ve never seen that many women on a marathon course with me before so it was really fun,” Rogosheske said.


She was joined by her two daughters, Allie and Abby Rogosheske, and her cousin Kris Swanson. This was the first Boston Marathon for Allie, Abby, and Kris, while it was Val’s fourth.

“It was challenging because I’ve never been out there for that long before,” Val laughed. “But it was great fun.”

Rogosheske finished in 6 hours, 29 minutes and 3 seconds. She originally hoped to come in under the six-hour mark, but once she took to the course, it became clear that wouldn’t happen. Hundreds of people were stopping her to take selfies, thank her, and share their own stories.

“It was phenomenal to be here just to see the crowds and to be here with our mom. It was amazing to see the impact she’s had, it was clear, everybody cheering for her,” Allie Rogosheske said. “There were tons of people we don’t know coming up and telling her what an impact she’s had and what an inspiration she is and it was really cool to be a part of.”

Kris Swanson, Val’s cousin, wasn’t expecting to be running in Boston this Patriots Day, but when Val called her in January, she knew she’d be here.


“I wasn’t really in shape, but when she called and asked if I’d be interested in running for the 50th anniversary, I couldn’t say no. It was worth every minute,” Swanson said.

Rogosheske still has the heart of a competitor, and after running a 4:29.32 in her marathon debut, she said it was an adjustment to realize she would not finish as fast as she used to.

“I was changing my frame of mind when I realized several weeks ago that I wasn’t going to be able to break six hours. I had to change my frame of mind and say that I was just going to enjoy the day,” Val said.

Val and her daughters held signs during the race, with one reading “cheers to 50 years,” complete with the zero drawn as the women’s gender symbol.

“It was just really emotional to have the next generation here, to have them show up with me,” Val said.

Val Rogosheske (second from left) was joined by her daughters Allie (far left) and Abby (second from right) as well as her cousin Kris Swanson (right).Sarah Barber/Globe Correspondent

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