An iconic athlete, author, Emmy-award winning broadcaster and advocate for sports and social causes, Kathrine Switzer was the first woman to officially register and run the Boston Marathon in 1967. She was attacked in the race by an angry official who tried to rip off her bib number (#261) and throw her out of the race because she was a woman. She finished the 26.2 mile distance anyway and went on to run 42 marathons, win the 1974 New York City Marathon and to champion women in the sport globally, most notably by creating a global women’s running circuit in 27 countries for more than a million women that led her lobbying drive to make the women’s marathon an official Olympic event in 1984. Now, 58 percent of all runners in the U.S. are women; a social revolution.
To celebrate and support this movement, Kathrine ran the Boston Marathon again in 2017 at age 70, on the 50th anniversary of her iconic run, finishing only 24 minutes slower than she did when she was 20. She is the first woman to run a marathon 50 years after her first. This anniversary run launched her non-profit ‘261 Fearless’ — named after that famous bib number — which empowers women globally through running.
Kathrine has appeared on broadcasts for the major international marathons of the world, world championships and the Olympic Games. She speaks widely and is the author of three books including her best-selling memoir, Marathon Woman. Kathrine has been honored widely for her achievements including being inducted into the USA National Women’s Hall of Fame, which recognized her for creating positive social change throughout her storied career. Last year, the city of Dunkirk, France, named a stadium after her because she “embodies Dunkirk’s qualities of determination, persistence and fearlessness.”
Watch Kathrine’s MAKERS profile: