Mary Lines 1893-1979

Athlete, founder of the WAAA

Mary Lines can be classed as something of an all-rounder, competing at every distance between 60m and 800m as a runner, and in the field events excelling as a long jumper.

She, like Florence Birchenough, was a member of the first unofficial England the team, picked from the PE classes of Regents Street Polytechnic, to compete at the First Monte Carlo Games in 1921. She won gold in the long jump, 60m, 250m and sliver in the 800m. Back in England, driven by the lack of a formal governing body for women’s athletics and the disinterest of the AAA in allowing women to become involved Mary was a founder member of the Women’s Amateur Athletic Association which formed in 1922.

At the first official WAAA championship held at the Oxo Ground, London in 1923 Lines won the 100 yards with a time of 12 second, the 440 yards with 62.4 seconds and the 120 yard hurdles with 18.8 seconds, in addition to the track events she won the long jump with a distance of 4.86 yards.

Between 1921 and 1924 she set 33 world records for sprinting, as well as continuing to medal in long jump and being part of the winning 4×110 yard relay team at the 1922 Women’s Olympiad held in Paris.

Lines married in 1924, retiring from competition that same year.