The National Women’s History Museum posted this incredible snapshot of a moment in history on Facebook. They wrote: “In 1967, Kathrine Switzer registered for the BostonMarathon as “K.V. Switzer” and became the first woman to run with a race number (in 1966 Roberta Gibb hid in a bush at the start line and ran the race unregistered). Two miles in, Marathon officials attempted to remove her from the race, however her running mates pushed the official off her and she finished the race in 4 hours and 20 minutes. Women were finally allowed to participate in 1972.”
Kathrine Switzer documents the 1967 Boston Marathon on her website here.
Here is a piece of her story:
“A big man, a huge man, with bared teeth was set to pounce, and before I could react he grabbed my shoulder and flung me back, screaming, “Get the hell out of my race and give me those numbers!” Then he swiped down my front, trying to rip off my bib number, just as I leapt backward from him. He missed the numbers, but I was so surprised and frightened that I slightly wet my pants and turned to run. But now the man had the back of my shirt and was swiping at the bib num¬ber on my back. I was making little cries of aa-uh, aa-uh, not thinking at all, just trying to get away, when I saw tiny brave Arnie bat at him and try to push him away, shouting, “Leave her alone, Jock. I’ve trained her, she’s okay, leave her alone!”
She recalls the moment she finished – as the first woman to run the Boston Marathon with a bib. She writes: “We rounded the corner onto Boylston, and there it was: the long slope down to the front of the Prudential building, to a line painted on the street, FINISH. Nobody had misdirected us, nobody had arrested us, and we were going to do it.”
Switzer says she wasn’t trying to prove anything or make a statement when she first ran the Boston Marathon in 1967.
“I was just a kid who wanted to run, and was there as a reward from my coach who didn’t believe that a woman could run the distance,” Switzer writes in the question and answer section of her website. “It wasn’t until a race official attacked me during the run did I become determined to finish and speak out on behalf of all women.”