Newsletter

Stay up to date with the latest from MAKERS delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up for new stories from trailblazing women, a big dose of inspiration, and exclusive MAKERS content.

Newsletter Confirmation

Thank you for joining! Please check your inbox for our special welcome letter
with exclusive updates from MAKERS.

MAKERS Moment

Officially Barred

Officially Barred

More From Kathrine

In this video

Switzer may have escaped an angry Jock Semple, but the Amateur Athletic Union imposed swift sanctions for her unladylike actions.

Kathrine 's Biography

Cause of Choice: Women's Sports Foundation
First Paying Job: Public relations at Bristol Mayers
Headline News: Before her barrier-busting run in Boston, she first sparked national headlines by running the mile in a men's track meet in college.
A Mile a Day: She says, learning to run a mile a day is "the thing that changed my life...It translated into everything else I did. I said, 'Well, if I can run a mile a day, I can try out for the poetry club...It gave me a lot of confidence, courage, and belief in myself.'"

Kathrine Switzer was in the habit of signing her college papers “K.V. Switzer” and did so when she registered for the all-male Boston Marathon in 1967. She wasn’t the first woman to run the race, but her presence as an official entrant made her a visible and potent threat to the sports world’s status quo. The simple gesture exploded when an official attacked Switzer on the course, grabbing for her race numbers and screaming and cursing at her before being body blocked by her boyfriend.
 
The incident was broadcasted worldwide and put a shocking face on the hostility to women’s full participation in athletics. Time-Life listed it among its “100 Photographs that Changed the World.” Switzer was radicalized by the incident. Her 38 subsequent marathons (she’s still running them) include a win in New York in 1974. She led the successful drive to get the women’s race into the Olympic Games, has won an Emmy for her TV commentary, and is the author of three books, including her memoir, Marathon Woman. Switzer’s ongoing campaign to help women around the globe empower themselves through the simple act of running made her a 2011 Inductee into the National Women’s Hall of Fame. 

Related Videos

Catharine MacKinnon
Catharine MacKinnon
Pioneering Legal Scholar

Catharine MacKinnon is a legal scholar who pioneered the legal claim for sexual harassment. As an undergraduate at Smith College, MacKinnon was first introduced to the constitution...

Danica Patrick
Danica Patrick
Champion Race Car Driver

Danica Patrick is the most successful woman in the history of American open-wheel racing, and is one of the most famous and recognized female athletes in the world. She is the only...

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Crusader For Women

Wellesley College seniors had never before chosen a commencement speaker from their own ranks when Hillary Rodham stepped to the podium on the last day of May in 1969. Education, s...

Diahann Carroll
Diahann Carroll
Actress

Diahann Carroll is an award-winning actress who broke barriers in American television as the first African American women to not only star in a series, "Julia", but also ...