Arlene Pieper

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Arlene Pieper, also known as Arlene Pieper Stine,[1] (18 March 1930 – 11 February 2021)[2] became the first woman to officially finish a marathon in the United States when she finished the Pikes Peak Marathon in Manitou Springs, Colorado, in 1959.[3][4] Her daughter Kathie, 9, became the youngest competitor at that time to finish the half marathon race to the summit, but did not finish the whole marathon.[5] Arlene also entered the Pikes Peak Marathon in 1958 but stopped at the summit, therefore being disqualified.[3] In 1959, women had the choice of a race to the summit or the full marathon up to the summit and down.[3] That year Katherine Heard was first to the summit with a time of 5:17:52 but did not run down the mountain.[3] Arlene reached the summit four minutes later, and finished the marathon with a time of 9:16.[3]

She did the marathon to promote a gym she and her husband owned in Colorado Springs, called Arlene's Health Studio.[6] She trained for a year, wearing tennis shoes she bought from a dime store.[6] She had three children at the time.[6] After spending four years in Colorado, she and her husband returned to California, where she had lived as a teenager and where they had run gyms for exercise guru Harold Zinkin.[7] They were also acquainted with exercise guru Jack LaLanne and Arnold Schwarzenegger.[7] After they returned to California they ran another gym for Zinkin.[7]

Arlene was unaware of the groundbreaking nature of her marathon until she was contacted by a historian in 2009.[7] She served as the official starter for the Pikes Peak Marathon that year, and hung the Pikes Peak Marathon medal around the neck of the 2009 women's winner, who credited her win to Arlene's inspiration.[7][6] Afterward Arlene attended the Pikes Peak Marathon every year until at least 2013 as part of the ceremonies.[8]

Arlene died at age 90, on February 11, 2021.[1]


Arlene was named as one of the 2014 Heroes of Running by Runner's World.[9]

In 2016 Arlene was inducted into the Colorado Springs Sports Hall of Fame.[10]


  1. ^ a b "Pikes Peak Marathon legend Arlene Pieper Stine, the first woman to run a sanctioned marathon, has died". The Colorado Sun. March 29, 2021.
  2. ^ Sandomir, Richard (25 April 2021). "Arlene Pieper Stine, 90, Dies; First Woman to Finish a Marathon". The New York Times.
  3. ^ a b c d e "First woman to run marathon in US - PPM". Archived from the original on 11 February 2017. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  4. ^ "Arlene Pieper – 1st Lady Marathoner". Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  5. ^ "Home". Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  6. ^ a b c d "The Trailblazer: Arlene Pieper". Runner's World & Running Times. 10 December 2013. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  7. ^ a b c d e "Meyer: Pieper carved out tracks for women". 17 August 2009. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  8. ^ "Fresno woman holds 1st female marathoner title". ABC30 Fresno. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  9. ^ "2014 Heroes of Running". Runner's World & Running Times. Archived from the original on 10 October 2014. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  10. ^, Amanda Hancock. "Arlene Pieper Stine, first woman to run a marathon and Colorado Springs hero, has died". Colorado Springs Gazette.

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