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Women's History Month: Kathrine Switzer

"The most effective way to do it, is to do it." – Amelia Earhart

By Amy L. DeLuca, Esq.

Kathrine Switzer is someone who certainly lived up to these words spoken by Amelia Earhart.  As a nineteen year old journalism student at Syracuse University, Kathrine had a passion for running.  Since there was no women’s team, she trained with the men’s cross-country team.  After hearing her running coach repeatedly talk about the Boston Marathon, she finally decided she would run in the 1967 event.  While the rules did not specifically prohibit women from running, no woman had ever officially competed before.  Kathrine filled out her entry as “K.V. Switzer” and drove to Boston for the race.  Kathrine Switzer successfully completed the marathon, despite being attacked by a marathon official trying to pull her bib number from her shirt as she ran. 

Kathrine Switzer’s historic 1967 Boston Marathon run took place on Patriots’ Day in Massachusetts.  Patriots’ Day commemorates the young, brave American patriots who valiantly fought the British in the American Revolution.  In her own way, Ms. Switzer demonstrated the same bravery and courage of the patriots the day celebrates. Women continued to participate in the Boston Marathon after Switzer’s historic run.  In 1972, women were officially recognized and welcomed as competitors in the Boston Marathon and that continues today.

Women like Kathrine Switzer have paved the way for many others.  Her courage and conviction should be celebrated.  Her accomplishment proves, as she has stated, “Talent is everywhere, it only needs the opportunity.”

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