Kathrine Switzer, Boston Marathon Pioneer, Back 50 Years Later


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Kathrine Switzer, the Boston Marathon pioneer who ran as the first woman registered in the race, returned for the 50th anniversary of the event Monday.

Switzer ran the marathon wearing the number 261, the same number male participants had tried to rip off her clothing in 1967.

Fifty years later, she was awarded the honour of firing the gun for the women's race.

Sanchez finished the grueling race in five hours, 21 minutes and 56 seconds.

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Switzer finished anyway, and came back eight more times. There are now more women competing in marathons nationwide than there are men. According to her the book and some press images, the race director, Jock Semple, told Switzer to "Get the hell out of my race and give me those numbers!'" as he "grabbed my shoulder and flung me back, screaming". "It changed my life and it changed millions of women's lives".

The Boston Athletic Association reported that 30,074 runners entered the race this year from 57 USA states and territories, and 99 countries of citizenship.

A Hudson Valley runner who was at the site of the Boston Marathon attack four years ago recalled the incident to News 12 today.

"But if I get near the finish line and I look over there and I see somebody who's got gray hair and is maybe is in my age group, I'm just going to kick a little butt", Switzer said, laughing.

Switzer donned her original bib number, 261, for the 2017 race.

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Spitzer said her return to the race in 2017 was a way to, "celebrate the fact, first of all, that I can run - that I'm capable of doing it, amazingly enough, and I'm very, very grateful for that".

Every year the Boston Marathon is full of inspirational runners, and this year was no exception. In Switzer's memoir, "Marathon Woman", she wrote that coach Arnie Briggs told her, "No dame ever ran the Boston Marathon!". She said she felt comforted running alongside Desiree Linden, who is a two-time Olympian who placed seventh at the Rio Games in the marathon. And so I think about that along the run. It aims to empower young women through running.

Women were finally officially allowed to enter the Boston Marathon in 1972.

Switzer went on to win the New York City Marathon in 1974 and successfully campaign for the women's marathon to become an Olympic sport in 1984.

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