Kathrine Switzer

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Kathrine Switzer
Kathrine Switzer at the 2011 Berlin Marathon Expo.jpg
Kathrine Switzer at the 2011 Berlin Marathon expo
Born (1947-01-05) 5 January 1947 (age 67)
Occupation Runner and author
Website
kathrineswitzer.com/

Kathrine Virginia "Kathy" Switzer (born January 5, 1947, in Amberg, Germany[1]) is an American author, television commentator and marathon runner,[2] best known as the first woman to run the Boston Marathon as a numbered entry.

Life and career[edit]

Switzer was born in Germany, as the daughter of a major in the United States Army. The family returned to the United States in 1949.[3] She graduated from George C. Marshall High School in Fairfax County, Virginia, then attended Syracuse University, earning a bachelor's degree in 1968 and a master's degree in 1972.

1967 Boston Marathon[edit]

While attending college, Switzer entered and completed the race in 1967, five years before women were officially allowed to compete in it. Her finishing time of approximately 4 hours and 20 minutes was nearly an hour behind the first female finisher, Bobbi Gibb (who ran unregistered).[4] She registered under the gender-neutral "K. V. Switzer", which she insists was not done in an attempt to mislead the officials. She claims to have long used "K. V. Switzer" to sign the articles she wrote for her college paper.[5] Race official Jock Semple attempted to physically remove her from the race, and according to Switzer said, "Get the hell out of my race and give me those numbers."[6] However, Switzer's boyfriend Tom Miller, who was running with her, shoved Semple aside and sent him flying. The photographs taken of the incident made world headlines.[5]

As a result of her run, the AAU barred women from all competition with male runners, on pain of losing the right to compete.[7] Switzer, with other women runners, tried to convince the Boston Athletic Association to allow women to participate in the marathon. Finally, in 1972, women were welcome to run the Boston Marathon officially for the first time ever.[8]

Later competition and work[edit]

Switzer was the women's winner of the 1974 New York City Marathon, with a time of 3:07:29 (59th overall).[9][10] Her personal best time for the marathon distance is 2:51:37, at Boston in 1975.[11]

Switzer was named Female Runner of the Decade (1967–77) by Runner’s World Magazine and received an Emmy for her work as a television commentator.[8] She wrote Running and Walking for Women over 40 in 1997. She released her memoir, Marathon Woman, in April 2007 on the 40th anniversary of her first running the Boston Marathon. In April 2008, Marathon Woman won the Billie Award for journalism for its inspiring portrayal of women in sports.[12] When visiting the Boston Marathon, Switzer is glad to see other female runners:

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.[13]

She was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame in 2011 for creating a social revolution by empowering women around the world through running.[8] Since 1967, she has worked to improve running opportunities for women in different parts of the world.[14]

Personal life[edit]

Switzer married Tom Miller, the man who blocked officials for her while running the Boston Marathon in 1967. They later divorced, and she remarried to British-born runner and author Roger Robinson.

Achievements[edit]

Year Competition Venue Position Notes
Representing the  United States
1974 New York City Marathon New York, United States 1st 3:07:29[9]
1975 Boston Marathon Boston, Massachusetts, United States 2nd 2:51:37[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Milde, Horst (2 June 2010). "Kathrine Switzer and Roger Robinson visit the Berlin Sports Museum". German Road Races e.V. Retrieved 19 March 2013. 
  2. ^ Butler, Sarah Lorge (12 April 2012). "How Kathrine Switzer paved the way". ESPN-W. Retrieved 13 July 2012. 
  3. ^ Milde, Horst (5 January 2012). "Katherine Switzer 65 Jahre - GRATULATION der Laufpionierin!". German Road Races e.V. Retrieved 19 March 2013. 
  4. ^ Boston Marathon results
  5. ^ a b The Real Story of Kathrine Switzer's 1967 Boston Marathon-Life is For Participating
  6. ^ Concannon, Joe (April 5, 1987). 1967: Semple Meets Switzer. Versions vary but everyone remembers that infamous marathon. Boston Globe
  7. ^ Romanelli, Elaine (1979). "Women in Sports and Games". In O'Neill, Lois Decker. The Women's Book of World Records and Achievements. Anchor Press. p. 576. ISBN 0-385-12733-2. 
  8. ^ a b c Lodge, Denise. "Kathrine Switzer: Empowerment through Running", Impowerage Magazine, 16 April 2012. Retrieved on 10 May, 2012
  9. ^ a b Switzer, Kathrine (2007). Marathon Woman. New York: Carroll & Graf. p. 270. ISBN 978-0-7867-1967-9. 
  10. ^ N.Y. Road Runners site (results archive accessed via "Runner Tools"
  11. ^ a b Switzer, Kathrine (2007). Marathon Woman. New York: Carroll & Graf. p. 290. ISBN 978-0-7867-1967-9. 
  12. ^ "Kathrine Switzer Website". Retrieved April 15, 2014. 
  13. ^ Zirin, Dave (15 April 2013). "The Boston Marathon: All My Tears, All My Love". The Nation. 
  14. ^ "Boston, 1967: When marathons were just for men". BBC news. April 16, 2012. Retrieved May 1, 2012. 

External links[edit]