Could Louisa have run the Boston Marathon?

I am so pleased to work in Wellesley, MA, the halfway mark of the prestigious 26 mile Boston Marathon. I’m watching the coverage live on the internet and I felt a lump in my throat watching the elite women runners speed past the huge crowds of cheering students from Wellesley College. Wouldn’t Louisa, a runner herself, have been proud! May she would have run the marathon too!

Top: elite women runner passing Wellesley College (; below from Louisa May Alcott The Woman Behind Little Women (

UPDATE: JBee posted this cool link to a post called Day hike: Louisa May Alcott and walking to Boston – Louisa once walked from Concord to Boston and went to a party! Thanks JBee!

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9 Replies to “Could Louisa have run the Boston Marathon?”

  1. I bet she could have! It’s amazing to me how she could run in those clothes and shoes that they wore back then. Didn’t she once walk from Boston to Concord in something like 5 hours, and then went to a party that night? Speaking of which, I found this interesting blog post:

    1. Wow, that is really cool, thanks! I put an update on the post with the link to make sure everyone would see it.

  2. My daughter is running today in Boston, and mostly I am concerned about the heat. We can be pleased that this is no longer a weird thing for a woman in her 50’s to do.

    1. Hope she made out okay – beautiful day for spectators but tough for runners! Although, I heard on TV that heat is actually good for the wheelchair racers and that the men’s winner broke the world record today.

  3. Glad you liked the link! I will try to find the source of the quote. I think it was a journal entry of hers, and if I recall she was (understandably) proud of herself for managing it.

    1. Wow, that didn’t take long…from Ednah Cheney’s book Louisa May Alcott, her life, letters, and journals:

      “May [1859]. Took care of L. W., who was ill. Walked from C[oncord] to B[oston] one day, twenty miles, in five hours, and went to a party in the evening. Not very tired. Well done for a vegetable production!”

      1. That’s awesome, thanks for finding that! She must have been an incredible athlete.

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