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10/26/2011 03:32 pm ET Updated Dec 26, 2011

Julia Chase-Brand: A Leading Pioneer

Except for a strategic bit of elastic that may be required, the blue running tunic, circa Smith College 1961, still fits. It will be worn again a half-century later, this time in celebration and tribute rather than defiance.

On Thanksgiving Day, Dr. Julia Chase-Brand, 69, plans to run a 4.75-mile race in Manchester, Conn., where the presence of women will be plentiful and unremarkable. Fifty years ago, when she and two other women ran there the first time, it was a widely publicized act of civil disobedience that became a pioneering moment in female distance running in the United States.

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