Its Thursday and you know what that means:
Today’s BAMF of a woman is Katherine Switzer!
What makes Katherine one of the coolest chicks around? I’ll tell you!
Back in 1967, Katherine Switzer was a student at Syracuse University and would workout with the coach of the track team. Every time they ran, the coach would blather on and on about his many times running the Boston Marathon. Finally tiring of her mentor’s same old story, she said, “If I run this thing with you, will you please stop talking about it?”
That year, Katherine entered the Boston Marathon. However, due to the fact that the marathon did not allow women a chance to compete (this was 1967, mind you), Katherine entered under the name “K. V. Switzer”. The day of the race came and Katherine–joined by her coach, Arnie and boyfriend, Tom Miller–was feeling great!
She was making great time. Suddenly, she noticed a truck with the bed full of reporters. They saw her too and shouted, “Its a girl!” Soon, she was surrounded by reporters. This attention soon reached the ears of race official Jock Semple (what a name, huh?) who was also nearby in an officials’ car. When he found her, he flew out of the vehicle and attacked Katherine, shouting, “Get the hell out of my race and give me those numbers!”
Katherine’s BF, Tom, shoved Semple away and Katherine kept running. She finished the race and became the first woman to run the entire Boston Marathon. (Homegirl finished it in 4 hours, 20 minutes!)
Because she ran, the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) barred all women from every competition with male runners (for reals…in 1967!) but that just added more fuel to Katherine’s fire.
She and other women runners lobbied for years for the Boston Marathon Association and the AAU to allow women the chance to compete. Finally, in 1972, women were allowed to enter and run the Boston Marathon.
Katherine Switzer helped spark a social revolution and empowered women everywhere to be strong, be a runner, and have the ability to say, “I am a marathoner!”
Here’s Katherine’s story in her own words: