am Vaida Žūsinaitė, a Lithuanian Olympic athlete - a professional marathon runner. I have been in sports throughout most of my life, but I started training for the professional Athletics/ marathons 12 years ago when I was 17.
As I remember myself from younger days, I was always an agile and persevering girl who enjoyed competing in running not solely with girls but also with boys. Honestly, not all boys could actually outrun me because I was always patient and able to leave my comfort zone while reaching for my goal. During high school years, I was also noticed for my perseverance and talent for running. Although that was something that made boys wonder how I do it I felt their constant respect and received numerous compliments for my skills (including even from those boys whom we did not have a very great friendship.) During those times I truly did not feel or faced any kind of discrimination in sports due to my gender. My high results proved my case that I am simply faster and advanced.
The same feeling I had during my marathon training, which I started in the 10th grade. Everyone was surprised with my endurance due to the fact that I did not put any specific effort in training for running earlier. That in itself was a wonderful motivation.
The strongest competition is always among the athletes of the same gender. Ultimately, the most objective factor is THE RESULT indicating who is a faster and a better performer. Simple. And for that, I loved and continue loving sports!
However, I discovered a totally different feeling and attitude towards sports and gender when I started working as a marathon instructor. Currently, I train people between the age range of 25-45. I have noticed that male instructors for some reason are seen as a higher authority than female instructors… Maybe male instructors demonstrate stricter discipline and unquestionable concreteness in their teaching? I wonder what can it be. Unfortunate element, in my opinion, is that people electing between the coaches tend to give priority to male instructors despite the fact that those male marathon instructors have never even run a marathon themselves…
Finally, I know that everyone is free to decide with which instructor to work and train. Everyone chooses according to their own style and preferences. But I hope people will be more selective and eliminate any unnecessary stereotypes regarding the female marathon coaches in a near future.