For those unfamiliar with her journey, Switzer was the first woman to run and complete the marathon 50 years ago with an official bib. Until her entry into the race in 1967, women were barred from participating in marathon running as a sport.
At the time, Switzer was a 20-year old journalism student at Syracuse University (Go Orange!) and determined to break this masculine cycle. Two miles into the race, however, the race director aggressively ran up to Switzer in an attempt to rip off her bib and throw her out of the race.
Nevertheless, she persisted – finishing her first run of the Boston Marathon at 4 hours and 20 minutes.
In 1972, five years after Switzer became the first woman to cross the finish line of the Boston Marathon, women were invited to enter the race and run with officially race numbers.
It’s incredible to believe that just 50 years ago, women were not allowed to run alongside men – let alone be acknowledged for their hard work and dedication in training for the 26.2 mile journey.
Wearing the same bib number (261) she wore 50 years ago, Switzer ran alongside thousands of women across all age groups, races and cultures in yesterday’s race. She finished at an impressive 4:44:31, running 10:51 seconds per mile.
If it weren’t for Kathrine’s determination 50 years ago, I wouldn’t have been able to complete my first marathon last October, or any of the races that I’ve run in the last two years of my running career.
On behalf of all women marathoners, Kathrine, I thank you for breaking the mold. It’s is because of you that we are able to claim unapologetically that women do run the world.