Marathon runner and author Kathrine Switzer joins Boston Public Library President David Leonard for this Arc of History: Contested Perspectives conversation. In 1967, Switzer became the first woman to register and run the Boston Marathon. In her book, “Marathon Woman,” she describes how she registered to compete, saying, “there was nothing about gender in the marathon. I filled in my AAU number, plunked down $3 cash as entry fee, signed as I always sign my name, ‘K.V. Switzer,’ and went to the university infirmary to get a fitness certificate.”
During the marathon she was accosted by race officials who tried to take away her bib number. As a result of Switzer’s act, the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) banned women from competing in races against men until 1972, when the Boston Marathon established an official women’s race.
Note: The COVID-19 outbreak resulted in the cancellation of the Boston Marathon in April 2020. In its stead, the Boston Athletic Association is hosting a series of virtual events in the second week of September. Learn more: https://www.baa.org/124th-boston-marathon-be-held-virtually
This conversation is part of the esteemed Lowell Lecture Series at the Boston Public library.
BIO: Kathrine Switzer
Kathrine Switzer was the first woman to officially run the Boston Marathon in 1967. She has run over 35 marathons and won the New York City Marathon in 1974.
She has written the book, “Running and Walking For Women Over 40” and is also an activist, working to create positive global social change.