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Women's running, according to 1981

The running subreddit had a field day with the cover of the July 1981 issue of Runner's World.


If you've ever spent (re: wasted) time on Reddit, then you know the drill.

Someone posts something--a statement, picture or link to an article--and if noticed, the Reddit community responds en masse. Responses include everything from praise to pithy comments, insults to Hitler comparisons a la Godwin's Law.

User slacksonslacks's contribution to yesterday's running subreddit proved no different.

The cover of the July 1981 issue of Runner's World advertises an in-depth report on women's running, both in text and graphics, but most prominently with the latter. Judy and Audrey Landers, famous sisters who worked in film and television in the late 1970s and early 1980s, pose together in 80s-era flair and hair.

It's obviously a posed photo. Even modern issues of Runner's World, Competitor and Trail Runner Magazine make use of models for their cover art. But this didn't stop the annals of Reddit from responding, and with hilarious results.

RW, showing just two everyday ladies before they go on a run!

Flawless make-up? Check. Hair done? Check. Jewelry? Check. Slightly awkward come-hither/deer-in-headlights/open-mouthed-to-catch-flies stare? Check.

They're just like me before I run!

User marimarimo, whose comment remains at top of the 68 responses currently listed for the original post, tells it like it is in true Reddit fashion. Mainly, snark. No Hitler comparisons, though.

Others discuss the "cat look" of the Landers sisters, the fact that their running shoes are decoratively hanging from their shoulders (and not on their feet), and other ridiculous observations. Some misread the other contents of the cover, assuming that everything listed pertains to the two models and the advertised report on women's running. But, as I said before, at least Godwin's Law doesn't come into effect at in point in the conversation.

Over 30 years later, we're having some fun at Runner's World expense--and the expense of women. The Reddit post points to a few sexist notions on full display in the early 1980s, but it also neglects the historical and cultural contexts of the time. This was, after all, a full three years before Joan Benoit ran her stellar 2:24:52 in the first Olympic Women's Marathon at the 1984 Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles--a feat that Runner's World nostalgically covered last month.