Who is she?
She defied her coach, who insisted the marathon was too far to run for a “fragile woman”. She registered under the name “KV Switzer” and competed anyway. A race official tried to tackle her and remove her race number, but her boyfriend nudged him aside and allowed her to continue. She finished the race in 4 hours, 20 minutes.
Despite her effort, race officials still banned women from competing. They relented in 1972 and eight women competed. Kathrine was instrumental in getting the first women’s marathon into the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.
Why should we thank her?
Kathrine’s heroic act in 1967 paved the way for women’s running. At a time when women were still considered too “fragile” to compete in such events, Kathrine showed the world that it could be done.
“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.”