Kathrine Switzer is a fearless and inspirational woman who runs – she won the New York City marathon in 1974 and has completed 39 marathons to date. But in 1967 when she ran the Boston Marathon it was still commonly believed that women weren’t capable of running such a distance.
Early on in the race she was attacked by an official who tried to prevent her from running at all and although humiliated and shocked by the sudden hostility, she continued and completed the race.
In 1967 the 800 metres and the 1.5 mile cross country races were the longest race events for women in the Olympic games!
Totally unbelievable to me as I sit here typing this blog!
The Boston Marathon remained a men only race until 1972 when women who could run that distance in 3 hours and 30 minutes or faster (in my dreams) were finally allowed to officially enter it. Nowadays though, according to Kathrine’s website www.kathrine.switzer.com 53% of the race participants in the USA are women and I expect it’s pretty much the same here in the UK.
261 was the number on Kathrine’s bib when she ran the Boston Marathon – the bib that a race official tried to rip off her chest in an attempt to prevent her running on, declaring the race to be men only. The number 261 has come to represent strength, power and fearlessness…
‘Women from around the world have been wearing the number 261 on their outfits, bibs and body because it makes them feel Fearless in the face of adversity, whether it is a tough marathon, a difficult business presentation, or coping with the many challenges of life’.
As Kathrine says, “Running will wonderfully change your life. Let it. We invite you to join our fearless community”