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Running to celebrate women's history in Tampa

A unique running tour takes you through South Tampa and Bayshore to learn about some history-making women in Tampa.

TAMPA, Fla. — It's Women's History Month. It's a chance to celebrate women who commemorate and encourage the study of the role of women in American history. Of course, we have some Tampa women who should be recognized as well. We discovered a fun way to learn about women in Tampa and get some exercise as well. 

"Hey my name is Laura Bradley and I'm here from Go Running Tours Tampa and today we're going to try something new. We're going to do a women's history tour around Hyde Park. I'm super excited about this one. I've wanted to do it for a while. We're supporting The Spring with it and we're starting right here at a woman-owned business, Jet City Espresso."

Grant Gilmore and I decided to take the tour and did the entire 6k run with all the stops. It took just about an hour. You can tell Bradley loves what she does.

"I've done this business for about 5.5 years. I don't do it for the money. I do it because I want to give back and I want to learn and I want people to learn about this city. And this women's history tour is actually all brand new content."

Our first stop was at United Methodist Church in Hyde Park to learn about Jessamine Flowers Link. 

"What she brought to Tampa was actually the 2nd Girl Scout troop in the nation. The reason we're at this church, United Methodist of Hyde Park, is because they were actually the sponsor back then."

As a matter of fact, Girl Scout troops still meet there today. Next up, we ran to Bayshore Blvd and stopped at a historical marker honoring Clara Barton.

"One, you've got TGH, Tampa General over there, the 9th floor is actually named for her. And then on 350 Plant Avenue which is right over there is where she usually stayed when she passed through town."

After running about a mile along Bayshore, we stopped for another quick break to learn about more great women. Since we can't run all around Tampa Bay, this is where Bradley talks about Fortune Taylor and how one of Tampa's bridges now bears her name. And Ann Lowe, a Tampa seamstress who designed numerous Gasparilla gowns and even First Lady Jackie Kennedy's wedding dress.

The last stop was the Kate Jackson Recreation Center, which was actually her original home in South Tampa. 

"One of her big things was really into cleaning up the city. She started the first Tampa Civic Association. She was responsible for getting some of Tampa's first playgrounds. So she really had a passion for kids and making sure they had a safe place."

Then it's just a little further to complete the loop and you're done. 

If you'd like to take part in the women's history running tour on Saturday, March 11, click here for more information. Laura also does custom tours all around Tampa and will run at your pace.

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