1st Woman to Enter Boston Marathon Running It Again

Kathrine Switzer returns
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 11, 2017 12:34 PM CDT
Kathrine Switzer Is Running Boston Marathon Again
In this April 9, 1975, file photo, distance runner Kathrine Switzer poses near her home in White Plains, NY.   (AP Photo/Ron Frehm, File)

In 1967, only men were allowed to run the Boston Marathon. Yet Kathrine Switzer entered, got a bib number, and completed the race, becoming the first woman to do so in an official capacity. Fifty years later, she's running the marathon again, Outside Online reports. "Women make up almost half the field at Boston," she says. "It’s a phenomenal social revolution, and it has happened in my lifetime. To be there in Boston to celebrate that moment, the place where it all began, is extremely gratifying and validating." Switzer also cleared up some misconceptions about her 1967 run: "People say I disguised myself—I did not. I was wearing baggy gray sweats like everyone else ... all the men near me knew I was a woman."

She also explains that she registered for the race using her initials only because she's been using her initials since age 12. She wanted to be a writer, and using her initials instead of her first name seemed more interesting, she says, insisting she wasn't trying to deceive race officials. In her official account of her story on her website, she says the rule book and entry form didn't specifically mention gender. But when the race managers figured out a woman was running—with an official bib—they tried and failed to physically pull her from the course. Though she was the first woman to officially complete the race, Bobbi Gibb ran it unofficially the year prior, and actually finished an hour before Switzer in 1967, albeit again unofficially. In 1972, the Boston Marathon officially began allowing women to run. (More Boston Marathon stories.)

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