In 1967, the world watched as Kathrine Switzer ran the Boston Marathon. She was the first woman to run the Marathon as an entered contestant. Throughout the race, Switzer was grabbed and harassed and a race official tried to grab her bib. Despite these challenges, Switzer completed the race. 5 years later, women officially gained the right to run the Boston Marathon.
Flash-forward to 2017 and Switzer is running again—this time at age 70 on the 50th anniversary of her historic run. In addition to her historic significance within the feminist movement and for female athletes across the world, Switzer is quite the accomplished runner. In 1975 she came in second place in the Boston Marathon, where just 8 years before she had fought to give women the right to run. The year before, in 1974, Switzer won the New York Marathon.
Since 1967, Switzer has not stopped fighting. She continues to strive for women’s rights across the world, specifically working to give women runners more opportunities in communities where female athletes are less common. Switzer has said: “When I go to the Boston Marathon now, I have wet shoulders—women fall into my arms crying. They’re weeping for joy because running has changed their lives. They feel they can do anything.”
At GameChanger, we know that women can do anything and we’re thankful for Kathrine Switzer for inspiring so many women. While Boston Marathon fans all have different favorites in the race, Kathrine Switzer is one runner we can all route for today.