Run for Ruth Bader Ginsburg | Sisters With Blisters Run Group – runnersworld.com

Run for Ruth Bader Ginsburg | Sisters With Blisters Run Group  runnersworld.com

Dressed in dissent collars and black robes with the word “vote” embroidered on the back, a group of Austin runners celebrated the life of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg by making a statement on their run.

With family members in tow, the Sisters With Blisters waved gavels while completing loops around the Texas state capitol building in Austin on Saturday, October 3—two weeks after Ginsburg died at 87 years old of complications from metastatic cancer of the pancreas.

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The runners wanted to honor Ginsburg’s life work as a champion of gender equality and encourage people to vote in the upcoming presidential election. Justice Ginsburg, who was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1993 by President Bill Clinton, was the second woman to serve on the Supreme Court, and she became a feminist cultural icon known as the “Notorious RBG” in her later years.

“We really did want this to be a positive tribute to RBG,” Lisa Kirsch, 48, one of the run’s organizers, told Runner’s World. “This is to honor an American hero that is a role model for us, and for our daughters and sons.”

Kirsch’s mom, Jocelyn Cotter, sparked the idea for the group run. From her home in Tucson, Arizona, Cotter discovered a photo on her newsfeed of a team dressed as Justice Ginsburg competing at Bay to Breakers, a point-to-point race in San Francisco. Kirsch said her mother shared the photo with her on September 23 and encouraged her daughter to unite Sisters With Blisters for a similar tribute.

That day, Kirsch sent the photo to Amy Moore, the captain of the running group, to see if she’d be interested in coordinating a run for Ginsburg.

Moore has been bringing the Sisters With Blisters together since 2013 when she formed the team for the Texas Independence Relay—a 200-mile relay race that starts in Gonzales and ends in Houston. In 2014, the Sisters With Blisters set the course record for the masters women division by completing the distance in 27 hours and 23 minutes for an average mile pace of 8:13.

The group meets every year for the relay, but the COVID-19 outbreak prevented them from competing in person in 2020. After Ginsburg died, Kirsch and Moore decided a run for Ginsburg would be a great opportunity to bring everyone together for the first time this year.

“I was born four years before my mom could have ever had a credit card on her own,” Moore told Runner’s World. “We take for granted how many things are just normal for us. And I’m not really that old. I’m only 50, so it wasn’t that long ago that people didn’t have these types of rights. [Justice Ginsburg] was one of the people who fought quietly but diligently for her whole life.”

After Moore sent an email to the group, each runner contributed ideas for the run to honor the late Supreme Court Justice.

Inspired by Ginsburg’s attire in the courtroom, [Sisters With Blisters runner] Marni Francell sewed collars with rhinestones and face masks with the word “dissent” embroidered on the front. Moore mapped a route for 17 runners to complete 8.7 miles, representing the 87 years of Ginsburg’s life. Other runners suggested they complete two loops around the state capitol for a total of 5 miles in honor of her five Supreme Court victories. Another team member recommended they stop to do planks for 87 seconds to celebrate Ginsburg’s famous exercise routine.

“If [Justice Ginsburg] could do the things that she did in her lifetime for gender equality, then we certainly can do 8.7 miles in a run and stop along the way to honor her by doing planks,” Francell told Runner’s World.

Kathy Carr

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When Kirsch was getting the gavels ready in the days leading up to the run, her 12-year-old daughter Fiona asked if she could participate too. In that moment, Kirsch thought about the legacy Ginsburg left for her children and future generations.

In 1972, the year Kirsch was born, Ginsburg was defending gender equality as a public voice for the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment that would prohibit the denial of civil rights on the basis of gender. Kirsch also thought about her daughter being born in 2008 and the significance of her watching women run for president and vice president and stand for justice in the Supreme Court.

“[Fiona] knows she, too, could do that someday,” Kirsch said. “We wouldn’t be where we are without Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s brilliant and gracious life of service.”

On October 3, Fiona and several runners’ family members rode with the Sisters on bicycles. Francell, Moore, and Kirsch said that many people cheered them on as they ran together through downtown Austin. Drivers honked their horns when they drove past the group, and a police officer congratulated them with a thumbs up. “I think it brightened a lot of people’s days,” Kirsch said.

After the success of the first tribute to Ginsburg, the group decided to plan more runs in the weeks leading up to election day on November 3.

“I agree with Ruth Bader Ginsburg that ‘real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time,’” Kirsch said. “I also know from my running crew and 48 years of life that we’re stronger when we take those steps together.”

Contributing Writer Taylor Dutch is a sports and fitness writer living in Chicago; a former NCAA track athlete, Taylor specializes in health, wellness, and endurance sports coverage.

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