Kathrine Switzer LIKED MY TWEET the other day. I can’t tell you how thrilled I was. I was telling everyone who would listen, and I can honestly say that I really only came across about three people who knew who she was – even in the running community.
Switzer was the first woman to run the Boston Marathon as an officially registered competitor. During her run, race manager Jock Semple assaulted her, trying to grab her race number and stop her from competing – an image which has become well known in the running world. She wasn’t to be perturbed, and continued to finish the race in 4 hours 20 minutes. Afterwards, the AAU barred women from all competitions with male runners, with violators losing the right to compete in any race. Switzer subsequently successfully convinced the Boston Athletic Association to allow women to participate in the marathon – finally, in 1972, the Boston Marathon established an official women’s race.