Kathrine Switzer: First Woman to Enter the Boston Marathon
Published on May 15, 2012
Kathrine Switzer on the prejudices women athletes faced, her historic Boston Marathon run, and the doors it opened for other women athletes.
Kathrine Switzer wasn't the first woman to run the Boston Marathon, but her presence as an official entrant made her a visible and potent threat to the sports world's status quo. The simple gesture exploded when an official attacked Switzer on the course. The incident was broadcasted worldwide and put a shocking face on the hostility to women's full participation in athletics. Her 38 subsequent marathons (she's still running them) include a win in New York in 1974. She led the successful drive to get the women's race into the Olympic Games, has won an Emmy for her TV commentary, and is the author of three books, including her memoir, Marathon Woman. Switzer's ongoing campaign to help women around the globe empower themselves through the simple act of running made her a 2011 Inductee into the National Women's Hall of Fame.