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America’s first marathon woman

When Arlene Pieper Stine completed the Pikes Peak marathon in Colorado in August 1959, she spent the next half-century with no idea she had run into the history books – she was the first woman to complete a sanctioned marathon in the US. The 26-mile race involves a climb of nearly 8,000ft to the highest mountain in the range, at 14,000ft. “I had my short shorts on, and a white blouse tied in a knot – that’s how we did things back in the Fifties – and my tennis shoes from the dime store, and off I went,” she told a radio station in 2017.

The gruelling race took the 29-year-old runner nine hours and 16 minutes, says Richard Sandomir in The New York Times. With no feed stations, she drank water from streams. Fortunately she owned a health studio in the area, so was in good shape. “Isn’t it a beautiful day for a race?” she is said to have called out to the men she passed on the ascent.

No fuss was made of her achievement until 2009, when race organisers placed a local newspaper ad offering a $300 reward to anyone who could find her. “It just blew me away,” recalled Pieper Stine, who was tracked down to California. “I said, ‘I’m the first?’” In the following decade, she became guest of honour at several Pikes Peak marathons, happy to sign for autographs, be touched for luck by competitors and officially start the race. She died recently at the age of 90.

Arsenal could be the field of streams  

Spotify founder Daniel Ek wants to buy Arsenal. IBL/Shutterstock

Spotify owner Daniel Ek is preparing a bid to buy Arsenal, the club he has supported since childhood, say Nick Ames and Will Unwin in The Guardian. Ek, who is worth an estimated £3.45bn, has renowned former players Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp and Patrick Vieira on his side – and the current owner, American billionaire Stan Kroenke, has alienated the fans because of his support for the abortive European Super League. Crowds held up #KroenkeOut signs outside the club’s stadium last week.

Kroenke, who insists the club is not for sale, has thicker skin than a rhino, says Matt Slater in The Athletic. He was dubbed the “most hated man in St Louis” in 2016, when he moved the city’s American football team, the Rams, to Los Angeles. His response to lockdown-induced financial losses at Arsenal was to make 55 members of staff redundant, including club mascot Gunnersaurus. He and his wife, Walmart heiress Ann Walton, have a combined wealth of more than £12bn. With President Biden planning to raise capital gains tax for the highest earners from 15% to 43%, the American owners of Premier League clubs, including Kroenke, will hold on to their assets for now.

A schoolboy’s bowling masterclass 

Allendale Cricket Club

Allendale Cricket Club’s Owen Forbes “proved himself to be a man among boys” on his senior cricket debut on Saturday, says Ali Mitib in The Times. The schoolboy, 12, took four wickets in four balls, skittling the hulking batsmen of Mitford CC and securing his team a 59-run victory in the West Tyne Senior Cricket League.

Mitford were chasing 232 to win and “looked in with a chance at 172-6 before Owen’s outstanding display”. Three of his wickets were bowled, with the other caught at point. A few nerves showed, said dad Gareth, because “he was out first ball with the bat” – but the fast bowler delivered “one of the most amazing things we have ever seen in the club’s history going back to 1946”.