Kathrine Switzer Runs Boston Marathon 50 Years After Being First Woman to Enter the Race
Fifty years after being the first woman to enter the Boston Marathon, Kathrine Switzer, now 70, finished the 2017 26.2-mile race with an unofficial time of 4:44:31 — just 24 minutes slower than the time she first ran it at 20 years old.
"I'm exhilarated," Switzer told ABC News after Monday's race. "All the way along the route, people had heard my story, saw my bib, and they were holding signs up that read '261 Fearless' and 'Go Kathrine!' They were screaming and going crazy. It was amazing, especially the little girls who were there with their moms. They were just jumping up and down."
Running for the first time in 1967, the marathon was considered a man's race and although the second woman to ever run, Switzer was the first to wear a racing bib number.
"It's just an enormous sense of gratitude for the city of Boston, the streets of Boston, which changed my life and helped pave the way for what is nothing less than a social revolution in women’s running," she told ABC. "When I crossed the finish line — to celebrate 50 years of looking back and seeing the huge progress and changes that have been made — I can only say that I’m extremely grateful for the experience."
Jock Semple, ran up behind Switzer in the 1967 race, trying to grab her bib off of her to disqualify her, yelling: "Get the hell out of my race and give me those numbers!"
Breaking free, Switzer finished the race, and made history for women.
Semple later became a friend of Switzer and as she passed the spot where he tried to disqualify her, she thought of her late friend who passed away in 1988, ABC reports.
"I just blew him a big kiss. I said, 'There you go, Jock.' This was the guy who, for better or worse, changed my life. As it turned out, it was for better. At the time, it was a terrible experience, but in the fullness of time, it was the best thing that ever happened to me."
Switzer told ABC that she planned to celebrate her race with a Boston-brewed draft beer over dinner with her husband and friends that night. She said she had no intention of calling this her last marathon and expressed interest in running the New York Marathon.
"I had a choice of what to wear today — capris or shorts. At 70, my legs are not gorgeous like they were when I was 28. And I said, 'I'm wearing the shorts.' I’ve got 70-year-old legs, and they deserve to look gnarly. But I don't care, because I just want to run and run well."
Get to know MAKER Kathrine Switzer in the player above.
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