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Kathrine Switzer      

Author, TV Commentator & Marathon Runner; Best Known as the First Woman to Run the Boston Marathon as a Numbered Entry

Kathrine Switzer has long been one of running’s most iconic figures. But when she was inducted into the U.S.A. National Women’s Hall of Fame, it was not just for breaking barriers but also for creating positive global social change. Because of her, millions of women are now empowered by the simple act of running.

Her work began accidentally 45 years ago when she was the first woman to officially enter the Boston Marathon when it was considered a men’s only race. Her entry revolutionized the sports world when she was physically attacked by the race director for wearing official bib numbers in the race. The photo of this incident flashed around the globe and became one of Time-Life’s “100 Photos that Changed the World.” Switzer finished that race but was radicalized by the incident. She campaigned to make women official in the Boston Marathon in 1972 and later that year was one of the creators of the first women’s road race.

Switzer went on to run 39 marathons and won the New York City Marathon in 1974. She ran her personal best in 1975, finishing second in Boston (2:51:33). She then put her substantial energies into creating the Avon International Running Circuit of women’s only races in 27 countries with over a million participating from 1978 to the present time. It was this series of events, which showed global participation and performances that largely convinced the IOC to include a women’s marathon in the 1984 Olympic Games.

Switzer is now an Emmy award-winning TV commentator and has covered the Olympic Games, World and National Championships as well as the New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles and every televised edition of the Boston Marathon (36 consecutive years!).

She is a dynamic personality and effective pubic speaker, and she addresses business, academic, fund-raising and sports groups globally with socially significant and individually tailored presentations. She has appeared on Oprah, Nightline, CBS Evening News, Tonight, Today, Good Morning America, the BBC, CBC, PBS and many other electronic and print outlets.

"Marathon Woman," Switzer’s award-winning memoir, was first published in 2007. Her other books include "26.2 Marathon Stories," co-authored with her husband, Roger Robinson and best-selling "Running and Walking for Women Over 40." As a journalist, her articles have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post and Parade Magazine as well as all major running publications. Many of her publications can be found on in the press archive on this site.

Even in her 60s, Switzer is still running marathons, having completed the Berlin Marathon in 2011 to launch the German edition of Marathon Woman. She also won her age group in the extremely difficult 2011 Motatapu off-road mountain marathon in New Zealand, and in 2010 fulfilled a lifetime dream of running the 2,500th anniversary race of the Athens Marathon.

She received both her BA and MS from the Syracuse University Newhouse School of Communions. She and her husband reside in the Hudson Valley of New York and Wellington, New Zealand.


Kathrine Switzer, history-making heroine of 1967 Boston Marathon ...

These 1967 photos show Kathrine Switzer being attacked by an official while trying to run the Boston Marathon. They had a profound impact when they were ...

Female runners took long, hard road to the Boston Marathon ...

Then, in 1967, a Syracuse University journalism student, Kathrine Switzer, entered the Boston Marathon despite the ban on women runners. Just past mile four ...

There was a time a woman conquering the Boston Marathon was ...

Long-distance running of any kind was considered unsuited to the delicate second sex, but Kathrine Switzer changed all that.

The Boston Marathon Has Been Breaking Gender Barriers Since 1966

... you can do anything you put your mind to; that mind always conquers matter. This is especially the case for female runners Bobbi Gibb and Kathrine Switzer....

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