GFGL FIT BLOG: The Original

I was listening to NPR the other day while driving and happened to catch an interview with the first lady to, officially, run the Boston marathon in 1967, Kathrine Switzer. She was the first women to officially enter and run the event and caused some crazy headlines when an official tried to physically remove her from the race. It was an amazing interview and also made me late for work since I wanted to finish the whole thing. I’m pretty sure NPR’s website makes all their programs available for download  if anyone is interested. Switzer has since dedicated herself to creating opportunities and equal sport status for women. She has also run 35 marathons, won the 1974 New York City Marathon, and ran her personal best of 2:51.33 by finishing second in the 1975 Boston Marathon. Previously, Marie-Louise Ledru had been credited as the first woman to race a marathon and Violet Piercy is credited as the first woman to be officially timed in a marathon

It’s so strange to think of a time when a lot of people thought women physically were not capable to running a marathon. I’ve never experienced any negative reactions about being a woman and participating in sports, not including cat calls, but I’m sure some prejudice still exists. Women make up about 40 percent of marathon entries on average and about 60 percent of entries for the half, so I would be pretty amazed if there was ever an incident again like the one Switzer endured that cold day in Boston. As women I often feel like we have to work twice as hard to prove ourselves when it comes to physical activity, whether the difference is simply implied or actually vocalized. Hopefully we can all use Katherine Switzer’s story as motivation to outrun the boys and keep making strides for girls everywhere.

Above: Switzer winning the 1974 NYC Marathon in a tennis dress!

Below: Switzer getting pushed off the course at the 1967 Boston Marathon.

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