The conversations of life

First woman to officially run in US Boston Marathon competes again – fifty years later


Kathrine Switzer first ran in the American race in 1967 aged 20. Back then it was a ‘men only’ event and she was infamously attacked while running by race director Jock Semple, who tried to rip her bib – number 261 – off. Can you picture that happening now?

She still managed to complete the marathon in a time of four hours and 20 minutes, but was disqualified by race organisers, with one saying: “If that girl were my daughter, I would spank her.”

Though there were no official rules banning women, it wasn’t until 1972 that women were finally allowed to register.

Leading the way for women

Kathrine Switzer after completing this year’s Marathon
Kathrine Switzer after completing this year’s Marathon

Ms Switzer had registered for the all-male race using her first two initials K. V. instead of her full name.

Since then, she has run 39 marathons and set up a charity called 261 Fearless to support women runners.

Now 70, Ms Switzer returned to run the marathon again this week, crossing the finish line in four hours and 44 minutes – just 25 minutes slower than her original time.

An amazing achievement.

Lauren is a journalist for, agedcare101 and The Donaldson Sisters. Growing up in a big family in small town communities, she has always had a love for the written word, joining her local library at the age of six months. With over eight years' experience in writing and editing, she is a keen follower of news and current affairs with a nose for a good story.

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