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New Zealand Track and Field Olympian, Anne Audain, builds legacy at Spokane's Bloomsday

SPOKANE, Wash. - Anne Audain, first female professional distance runner and seven-time Bloomsday champion, has released a documentary outlining her life's struggles and how she overcame them.  

Born in 1955, Audain was the first professional female distance runner to represent New Zealand.

According to Audain's website, she was inducted into the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame and the U.S.A. Running Hall of Fame. She was also honored with the Member of the British Empire Medal from Queen Elizabeth II. 

Though Audain faced adversity while chasing her dreams, her story played in key role in breaking down many barriers and stereotypes for modern-day female athletes. 

The documentary, Running her way, talks about some of the struggles she faced.   

In her documentary, Audain talks about suffering bone deformities in both of her feet as a child, causing her to not walk correctly. When she was 13 years-old, she had a successful reconstructive bone surgery. The surgery was what she needed to help her career take off, and she joined a local athletic club not long after.

Audain made a name for herself by winning her first race while running barefoot. 

At the age of 17, she qualified for her first Olympics in Munich. Between the years 1972-1992, Audain went on to qualify for six Olympic Games and won gold and silver medals at the Commonwealth Games in Australia and Scotland, according to her website. 

It was in 1981 when Audain left her mark on Spokane, however, winning her first of seven Bloomsday races. 

She kept her winning streak going through 1983 before the Olympis in 1984.

She returned to Bloomsday in 1985 to keep her legacy alive by taking home the prize and again in 1986, where she set her personal best and course record time at 38:48, a time that wasn't beaten for nine years.

Audain won Bloomsday two more times in 1988 and 1990, leaving her mark not only on Spokane and Bloomsday, but as a female runner.

In 1993, Anne founded the Idaho Women's Celebration 5K which has now become www.FitOneBoise.orgIt will host its next race on September 28. 

To learn more about Audain, you can watch her documentary, Anne Audain: Running Her Way.



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