Kathrine Switzer

First Woman to (Officially) Run the Boston Marathon

You’ve seen the iconic photo – a woman jogging in the midst of a large race with a blustery man at her shoulder grabbing at her sweatshirt and runner identification tag. But what is the story behind this photo? And who is this legendary Broad we see?

This Broad is none other than KATHRINE SWITZER – the first woman to officially* run the Boston Marathon! Hear the full story behind this legendary photo and one of the most pivotal moments in the fight for women’s rights in the United States.

* We say officially, because Roberta Gibb ran it the previous year but she was not registered officially for the race, she just hopped in and ran alongside the guys. Kathrine actually registered for the race and completed it, much to the chagrin of the race officials, who didn’t know she was a woman when she registered.

“Oh, let’s quit talking about the Boston Marathon and run the damn thing!”

“No woman can run the Boston Marathon,” Arnie fired back.

“Why not? I’m running 10 miles a night!”

Arnie insisted the distance was too long for fragile women to run and exploded when I said that Roberta Gibb had jumped into the race and finished it the previous April.

“No dame ever ran the Boston Marathon!” he shouted, as skidding motorists nearly killed us. Then he added, “If any woman could do it, you could, but you would have to prove it to me. If you ran the distance in practice, I’d be the first to take you to Boston.” I grinned through the gloom and flakes. Hot damn, I thought, I have a coach, a training partner, a plan, and a goal: the biggest race in the world—Boston.”

Kathrine Swizer

“When I go to the Boston Marathon now, I have wet shoulders—women fall into my arms crying. They’re weeping for joy because running has changed their lives. They feel they can do anything.”

Kathrine Switzer