On a warm day in the winter of 1966, Bobbi Gibb was getting in a long run on the beach when she accidentally ran to Mexico. She was recently married to a Navy man, which brought her from her home in Massachusetts to San Diego, and to the Pacific Ocean. Running there was a new, even shocking experience for her.
“I was not a competitive runner, but I felt connected to the earth and air and sky,” she says. She was fascinated with the “silvery white” of that beach after coming from the New England cold and snow. “I was completely lost in the day.”
She set out at low tide. She didn’t think much of it when she crossed the border because she didn’t really notice — the barbed wire didn’t go that far down the beach, and she was lost in thought. That wasn’t unusual for Gibb, who had previously driven cross-country in her VW bus with her malamute puppy Moot, stopping to run along the way, and to, when she could, sleep out under the stars. So to run that long, that engrossed in her mind, was normal.
On the way back, at high tide when she couldn’t run along the ocean past barbed wire anymore, she noticed. United States Border patrol noticed too, and detained her. She hadn’t carried ID. It wasn’t until she could call family friend Ewing Mitchell — an actor on the cowboy show “Sky King” — to vouch for her that they let her go.
She’d run about 25 miles.