Kathrine Switzer: First Woman to Enter the Boston Marathon


kathrine Switzer

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.

True or False

Determine if the statements are false or true 

  1. Katherine Switzer was the first woman to ever run the Boston Marathon (             )
  2. A man wanted her out of the competition (           )
  3. Her incident in the marathon was broadcasted locally (          )
  4. She stopped running marathons after the incidents in the Boston Marathon (           )
  5. She is an Emmy Winner (         )
  6. She is the author of three books   (        )
  7. She works for the National Women’s Hall of Fame (            )
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