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

Surprising Femininity

Surprising Femininity

More From Kathrine

In this video

Switzer talks about how she delights in defying stereotypes by being a feminine athlete.

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

Carrie Brownstein
Carrie Brownstein
Musician & Actor

Born and raised in Washington, Portlandia's Carrie Brownstein started her career in music at The Evergreen State College. It was 1995 when she became the guitarist and vocalist...

Cathy Guisewite
Cathy Guisewite
Creator of "Cathy" Comic

Cathy Guisewite is the creator and cartoonist behind the long-running nationally syndicated comic strip "Cathy," one of the first mainstream comics created by a woman. Ap...

Michelle Rhee
Michelle Rhee
Education Reformer

The daughter of South Korean émigrés, and herself educated for a year in her parents’ homeland, Michelle Rhee graduated from Cornell before landing in the princ...

Amy Richards
Amy Richards
Co-Founder, Third Wave Foundation

Richards is best known for creating the Third Wave Foundation as well as for her writings on contemporary feminism. Besides her books, Manifesta, Grassroots and Opting In, Richard&...