Kathrine Switzer wrote history back in 1967 when she became the first woman to officially complete the legendary Boston Marathon, which, at the time, was an all-male race. (A year earlier, Bobbi Gibb managed to sneak into the race, concealing her gender, and completed it, but she’d never officially registered with race officials.) She completed the race even after a marathon official attempted to force her off the course and tear her race number, 261, off of her shirt. She had been able to “hide” her gender by registering for the race under the name “K.V. Switzer.” It wasn’t until the 1972 edition of competition that the Boston Marathon finally allowed women to enter. Now, at 70 years old, she’s running that same race on Monday — after firing the official starting gun for the elite women runners.
“In 1967, few would have believed that marathon running would someday attract millions of women, become a glamour event in the Olympics and on the streets of major cities, help transform views of women’s physical ability and help redefine their economic roles in traditional cultures,” Switzer wrote in an essay for The New York Times a decade ago. After her legendary ‘67 race, Switzer has run more than 30 marathons, winning the New York race in 1974. She also founded her own running club for women, named 261 Fearless after her running number from that first race. “I’m so excited about Monday. It’s going to be great,” she told NESN. On Monday, in an appropriate reprisal, Switzer was once again wearing the number 261 on her shirt.
Watch the pre-race interview with her below.
Read the full story at The New York Times.