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First Official Women Runners Of The Boston Marathon Celebrated At Fan Fest

BOSTON (CBS) -- This year marks the 50th anniversary of the first official women's field in the Boston Marathon. Five of the original eight took part in a panel during Boston Marathon Fan Fest on Copley Square this weekend.

Pat Barrett was only 17 years old at the time. "When I was there I knew it was important but it's so wonderful to see the amount of people that are running and I never expected it to be this big," she said.

Speaking to a huge group of marathon runners, these women said they knew they were part of something special.

"When I see young women running through the streets and no one thinks it odd, then I knew it made an impact," said Sara Mae Berman, another one of the first official women's runners.

These iconic eight women still inspire today's runners on many levels. It's a reminder anything is possible but oftentimes it comes to sacrifice and hard work.

"I didn't have a lot of money, I was putting my husband through grad school, I was in grad school myself, I had a full-time job, and I was training 100 miles a week. It was very, very hard," recalled Kathrine Switzer, another one of the eight.

Runner Amanda Garrison said these women inspired her to run in her 11th marathon including two in Boston.

"They went out there and only eight of them amongst a bunch of men -- I think that's amazing. It's very inspiring," said Garrison.

"Amazing and very brave and I think it's cool they had the guts to do that," said another runner.

Bobbi Gibb actually made history in 1966 as the first woman to unofficially run Boston. In 1972, the BAA was ready to welcome its first official women's field.

Still, 50 years later Switzer said there is still more work to be done.

"I would like all of us to ask all of you to carry on that message and to help change women's lives around the world," said Switzer.

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