Kathrine Switzer was honored as an Ashoka ChangemakeHER, Changemakers's inaugural celebration of the world's most influentual and inspiring women. Find her fellow honorees' voices here.
Pictured above: Kathrine Switzer is accosted by a judge who tried to eject her from the normally all-male Boston Marathon in 1967, when male teammates bounced the official out of the race instead and she went on to finish. April 19, 1967 in Hopkinton, Mass. (AP PHOTO)
Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to officially run the Boston Marathon and to win the New York City Marathon. She led the drive to get the women’s marathon into the Olympics, and is a TV commentator and author of Marathon Woman. She will be inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame on Oct.1, 2011.
It is an interesting fact that you cannot pursue a physical activity for a long time and stay angry. When the adrenaline and aggression burn themselves off, the endorphins and reasonable-- even creative—thoughts take over.
So it was with me 44 years ago, this April 18, when I was attacked in the Boston Marathon by a race official who was so angry that I was a female in his male-only race that he tried physically to eject me. I was rescued by my male teammates who bounced the official out of the race instead, and I went on to finish.
I said that I would finish the race on my hands and knees if I had to, to prove to this official and the world that women were physically capable of running the marathon distance, and I deserved a place in this race. I was angry with the official for 20 miles of hard running, and then a light went on.