Kathrine Switzer

on Sep 18
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“Beyond elite, beyond inspirational…somewhat invincible”

Kathrine Switzer made history  in 1967 when she became the first woman to officially enter and finish the Boston Marathon.

Using her first and middle initials “KV” on the registration form, Switzer evaded detection of race officials and managed to start the race unnoticed.  However, when Switzer was spotted by the race director from his seat in the press truck, he leaped off in an attempt to halt her mid-stride.  A scuffle ensued and several male runners pushed the race director away.  The nearby press photographers captured the moment and the ensuing image became a worldwide sensation, making Time-Life Magazine’s list of “100 Photos that Changed the World.”

In the ensuing decades, women would soon comprise the majority of participants in running races, with Switzer serving as the most visible forerunner of this movement.  Looking back at her impact, the Huffington Post describes Switzer as “beyond elite, beyond inspirational…somewhat invincible.”

Highlights:

  • Switzer helped lead the women’s revolution in running, creating the Avon International Running Circuit, a series of women’s running events that drew over one million women in 27 countries to the sport.
  • Switzer served as a key figure in the campaign to allow women to compete in the 1984 Olympic Marathon in Los Angeles.  The winning time of 2:24:52 by Joan Benoit Samuelson, which only a few years earlier would have matched the top men, punctuated the permanent role women would have in the sport.
  • Switzer has provided commentary for ABC, NBC and CBS at over 200 sporting events including  the Olympic Games, the Commonwealth Games, the Goodwill Games, the World Championships, the Olympic Trials, the Boston Marathon, the New York City Marathon and the Los Angeles Marathon.
  • In 2016, Switzer worked with HAWI Management in licensing her name, image and likeness for a series of women’s running events in China.  In addition, she worked with HAWI Management to secure sponsorship from adidas and Humana health insurance to mark the 50th year anniversary of her trailblazing run at the Boston Marathon.
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