She Was The First Woman To Complete The Boston Marathon; 50 Years Later, She Ran Again

The Logical Indian

April 18th, 2017 / 3:21 PM

Boston Marathon

Source: bostonglobe | Image Credit: Boston Magazine | NBC News

Monday saw a 70 year old , Kathrine Switzer, running the Boston Marathon for the ninth time, with a million fans cheering her on along the route and  photographers and TV cameras capturing her celebration at the finish line timing 4:44:31. In 1967, Switzer was the first woman with a bib issued by the Boston Athletic Association to cross the Boston Marathon finish line, and the first time she ran, Jock Semple, the co-director of the famous 26-mile race, suddenly appeared behind her and tried to shove her out of the competition.

The Boston Marathon traces its origin to an ancient Greek battle and has a rich history of its own. But the story of the race’s distaff division didn’t begin until 1966, when it was still a fringe footrace of amateurs running only for an olive wreath and a bowl of beef stew.

Switzer was inspired by Bobbi Gibb, who had hid in the bushes to join a field of 415 men, becoming the first woman to run Boston in 1966 and began the “unofficial era of women’s participation.”

A year later, Switzer told her coach at Syracuse, Arnie Briggs, about Gibb and said she also wanted to run Boston. Briggs challenged her to complete the distance on a training run and he would help her sign up. And she did.

While going through the race’s entry rules Briggs insisted that Switzer, “a card-carrying member of the Amateur Athletic Union,” should officially register, as they found nothing about gender. Switzer, signed up using her first initial, K just because she didnt fancy her first name for her journalistic profession. They thought they had followed all the rules. But Jock Semple, who thought we were trying to pull a fast one, tried to knock Switzer off the course during the run. Switzer’s boyfriend shouldered him out of the way, and Switzer ran on.

Semple, defended that  he was trying to protect his race from international rules which sanctioned only men’s marathons. After the pictures of the scuffle were splashed across newspaper front pages, she found herself an unintended  spokeswomen for her gender. “I wasn’t there to prove anything,” she said. “It wasn’t until Jock Semple attacked me did everything changed.”

Switzer later helped create the Avon International Running Circuit of 400 women’s races that showed the IOC there were enough women to fill out an Olympic field and the women’s marathon was added to the Summer Games in 1984.

“What happened to me was a radicalizing experience. And it was one that made me bound and determined to change things for women,” she said. “Running had given me everything, and I wanted other women to feel that as well.

In 2015, Switzer created 261 Fearless, a non-profit that uses running to empower women around the world . The logo depicts her original bib, with one corner torn off from the struggle.


Written by :

Edited by :

Related Stories

London Marathon Plastic

Edible Pods Made Of Seaweed Extracts Replaced Thousands Of Plastic Bottles At London Marathon

Smriti BJP Education Affidavits

In Poll Affidavit, Union Minister Smriti Irani Confirms She Did Not Complete College Degree

Rephica Becky Pde

Shillong: Meet The 36-Yr-Old Working Mother Who Completed The Highest Ultra-Marathon In The World

Nukkad Marathon

Nukkad Marathon Of 77 Street Plays In 23 Hours: Creating Awareness About First 1000 Days

Hyderabad: Woman Runs 42 KM Marathon In Saree To Promote Handloom

My Story: I Stole 400 Rs From My Father’s Box And Ran Off To India To Join The Indian Army

Latest on The Logical Indian


My Mother And Sister Have Been Pleading Authorities For Info On Shibli: Jailed Kashmiri Journalist’s Brother


Women Power: Wing Commander Anjali Singh Becomes India’s First Female Military Diplomat


“Sorry, We Don’t Have Enough Funds To Make Roads”: Chandigarh Municipal Commissioner


Mumbai: Kids Refused To Play With A Young ‘Muslim’ Girl, These Women Decided To Challenge It


Bengaluru Airport Installs Diaper Changing Station In Men’s Washroom, Netizens Hail The Move


Anand Mahindra Replaces Plastic Bottles In All Meeting Rooms With Refillable Ones


Stories that deserve attention, delivered to your inbox!

Handpicked, newsworthy stories which deserve the attention of a rational generation.