Run, Ladies, Run!
Admittedly, I was never a runner. Not for lack of trying, though. My best time was 2 miles in 40 minutes after running for eight months (don’t laugh. Okay laugh.) I am, however, an admirer of those who have a runner’s talent and persistent character. So, when the story of Kathrine Switzer appeared in the headlines just before this year’s Boston Marathon, I was intrigued.
Kathrine’s story shows us that stepping into controversy with our bodies makes all the difference. We need to be physically present in rooms where decisions are made and on tracks where distance is covered.
Kathrine was twenty years old when she crossed the finish line of the 1967 Boston Marathon. Registered as K.V. Switzer and wearing the bib number 261, she raced alongside 600 men. When race director John (Jock) Semple heard a woman was running in his race, he became enraged and charged her from behind, clawing at her bib. At first she felt embarrassed, but then she got angry and had an epiphany:
“I’m going to finish this race on my hands and my knees if I have to. . . you know, if I don’t finish this race, then everybody’s going to believe women can’t do it and that they don’t deserve to be here. I’ve got to finish this race.”
Since then, she has relentlessly campaigned for women’s marathoning. In 1972, the Boston Marathon opened registration to all. She succeeded in bringing the women’s marathon to the 1984 Olympic Games. Fifty years after her first run, Kathrine finished the 2017 Boston Marathon again. At seventy years old, her time was 4:41:31—21 minutes slower than she ran in 1967!
I love Kathrine’s story. This kind of commitment is a cause for celebration. Here are two pendants for the runners in all of us, whether running on the track or for office.
$25 from sales of "261" pendant will directly benefit 261 Fearless, in support of Kathrine’s mission to empower women through running.