1st woman to officially run Boston Marathon to do it again, 50 years later

1st woman to officially run Boston Marathon to do it again, 50 years later

1st woman to officially run Boston Marathon to do it again, 50 years later

BOSTON – A 20-year-old journalism student at Syracuse University made history in 1967 by becoming the first woman to officially enter the Boston Marathon.

Now, 50 years later, Kathrine Switzer will return to the Boston Marathon starting line with the same number as an officer attempted to rip off her clothing in the 1967 race.

The incident was captured in an iconic photo that made Switzer a role model and launched her career as an advocate for women’s equality in sports. Now 70, with 39 marathons under his belt, it will be his first time to run the Boston race since 1976 and his first marathon since 2011.

Switzer has said he did not intend to break the barriers when entering the race. After all, another woman, Roberta Bingay Gibb, had completed the Boston Marathon the previous year without a bib.

But the photo exposed the ugly nature of sexism in sports, pushing Switzer into the limelight and altering the course of his life.

“Everything changed,” he told CNN’s WBZ-TV affiliate. “I said, ‘This is going to change my life, maybe it will change women’s sports and change the world.'”

“No lady has run the Boston Marathon”

Unlike Gibb, Switzer managed to score a bib when signing with his initials, K.V. Switzer. As she says, there were no official written rules stating that only men could enter the race. There was also no place on the registration form to select the genre.

But in those days women rarely participated in professional or competitive sports. Even her trainer in Syracuse, where Switzer trained with the men’s cross country team, told her the distance was too long for “fragile women.”

“No lady has run the Boston Marathon!” Coach Arnie Briggs told him, according to his memory, “Marathon Woman.” But if he could run the distance in practice he promised to take her to Boston.

When Switzer completed the 26-mile test, Briggs insisted that he be officially registered. She said she used her initials because her first name was misspelled on her birth certificate, Kathrine, and she was tired of repeating the mistake. In addition, she said she wanted to be a writer, and using her initials, such as J.D. Salinger et al. Cummings, seemed like a “cool, writer” thing to do.

Her bib number would come to represent the bravery in the face of adversity for women runners ever since. The Boston Marathon will retire the number 261 in honor of Switzer after she runs the race on Monday with supporters around the world.

Give me those numbers!

Switzer said he did not try to hide the fact that she was a woman. She wore lipstick, earrings and burgundy shorts, but ended up wearing sweaty purses on her “feminine” outfit because of the winter weather.

It was snowing when she and her teammates reached the starting line at Hopkinton. One of them told him to wipe his lipstick off so that the organizers would not notice it. She refused and started the race.

A few miles ahead, he saw a man with a felt hat and coat in the middle of the road that shook his finger as he passed. Then he heard the sound of leather shoes, a noise distinctly different from that of rubber soles, and he knew something was wrong.

Instinctively, I shook my head quickly and looked at the most vicious face I had ever seen: a huge man, a huge man with bare teeth, was ready to jump, and before he could react he grabbed me by the shoulder and threw me back , Shouting, ‘Get out of my career and give me those numbers,’ “he wrote in his memoirs.

The man was career director Jock Semple. Press photographers captured Semple’s contorted face as she grabbed Switzer’s numbers while her boyfriend pulled Semple off.

After escaping the scene, he walked a few miles before his anger was transformed into energy. It finished the race in four hours and 20 minutes, but soon would be disqualified and expelled of the Amateur Athletic Union.

1st woman to officially run Boston Marathon to do it again, 50 years later

Support soon eclipsed the aftermath and became a celebrity.

‘I could not let fear stop me’

Switzer used his influence to campaign to get the women to enter the Boston Marathon in 1972. She went on to run 39 marathons, winning the New York City Marathon in 1974 and achieving her best personal in 1975, 2:51:33, When he finished second in Boston.

She created the Avon International Women’s Circuit in 27 countries, paving the way for the first female Olympic marathon in 1984. She became a television author and commentator for the Olympic, World and National Championships before returning to marathons at age 64 .

Along the way, 261 became a rallying cry among female runners. Switzer formed 261 Fearless, a non-profit women’s club that has groups across the country. Some of its members will join Switzer for their victory round on Monday, using bib 261 to raise money for charity.

Why did not he abandon the 1967 race? Your frequently asked questions include a prepared answer:

“Because I knew that if I did, no one would believe that women could run distances and deserve to be in the Boston Marathon, I would simply think that I was a clown, and that women were invading events where they did not have skill. And I could not stop the fear pararm

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