Women have battled for a place in the male-dominated world of sports throughout the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, overturning obstacles and highlighting the changing position of women in societies around the world. This has become one of the defining stories of our age and the central story of women’s sports. They Run with Surprising Swiftness tells a different and much older, forgotten story with many of the same themes.

Sports have never been the sole preserve of men; women athletes have always been there. As this book shows, throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries in Britain, women of all ages ran, fought, rode, played football, cricket, tennis, and other sports. They competed in tough, head-to-head events that required extraordinary endurance and skill. Though not labeled "athletic" at the time, these women performed feats that in our age would certainly earn that descriptor. They Run with Surprising Swiftness recognizes these remarkable athletes and their achievements and aims to restore them to their rightful place in the long history of women in sport.

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