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First woman to officially run Boston Marathon does it again – 50 years later

The Guardian
marathon
Kathrine Switzer, who became women’s rights hero in 1967 after completing all-male race, crosses line aged 70

A runner who saw off furious race officials to become the first woman to complete the Boston Marathon has repeated the feat 50 years later.

Kathrine Switzer became a hero of the women’s rights movement in 1967 after she officially completed the then all-male race. Having registered under the name KV Switzer, her gender went unnoticed by officials at the start line, but a few miles in she was attacked by an angry official who tried to pull her off the course – creating an enduring image of women’s right’s history.

With the help of a bodyblock from her boyfriend, Switzer evaded the official and finished the race in four hours 20 minutes.

On Monday, aged 70, she ran it again, finishing just under 25 minutes slower in 4:44:31.

In a sign of how times have changed, Switzer was cheered by crowds, and fired the starting gun for the women elite runners’ race.

Switzer told CNN that running in the two races 50 years apart was “like night and day”. On having heard her name called out by supporters, she said: “I’ve got to tell you it was one of the most gratifying emotional experiences I’ve ever had […] it was a wonderful moment.”

She wore her original number – 261 – which was retired by race organisers after she crossed the finish line as a mark of honour. The Boston Marathon has retired only one other number in its history: 61, in recognition of the 61 races started by athlete Johnny Kelly.

More information at: The Guardian

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