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The TrailblazHers host a 5K in Malden dedicated to Louise Stokes.

The Boston-based women’s running group chose the Malden River Loop to host their weekly run dedicated to trailblazing women. (Photo by Frances Ramirez) By Saliha Bayrak, Amanda Hurley and Catherine Riordan A group of trailblazing women, clad in running gear and masks, were out for a run at the Malden River Loop on Sunday morning, March 7. The group, TrailblazHers Run Co, dedicated their weekly 5k run to Malden track & field star Louise Stokes, one of the first African-American women to qualify for an Olympic team.  TrailblazHers is a Boston-based women’s running group that was founded in October of 2020. The group’s members are fervently dedicated to unifying and uplifting each other while being powered by its mission to celebrate and empower women of all shapes, colors, and backgrounds.  The group originally emerged from an event known as the “Bra Run,” a tradition that continued for three years before the co-founders Elizabeth Rock, Abeo Powder, and Frances Ramirez, realized that there were many other women who were also looking for a community of runners.  Rock describes the organization as “A […]

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Malden River Loop Dedication: The Story of Louise Stokes

By Amanda Hurley Joggers and bikers huffing and puffing on the new 3.2 mile Malden River Loop may draw inspiration from a Malden athlete who faced both Jim Crow and Adolf Hitler as she pursued her passion for running.   Louise Stokes, a Malden native, is considered the first African-American woman to qualify for an Olympic team. Earlier this summer, the bike loop – which runs along the Malden River and spans three cities, Malden, Everett and Medford— was dedicated to Stokes and former clerk magistrate of Malden District Court, Joseph Croken. Malden City Councillor-at-Large Stephen Winslow conceived of the Malden River Loop project and enlisted the help of graphic artist Elena Martinez of Artfort Design Studio in August of 2019. Martinez recalled that she and Winslow “met at the Joy of Biking Sculpture near Anthony’s” and chatted as they walked the trail. Winslow was “inspired by the chance interactions – just a friendly hi or wave of the hand – that might happen during your time on the trail and the ever-changing landscape of buildings […]