Breaking Barriers…One Race at a Time

Kathrine Switzer poses with a replica of her first Boston Marathon bib number 261, Friday 24 February 2017 in Wellington, New Zealand. Credit: Hagen Hopkins.

Four months ago at the Boston Marathon, the world was pleasantly startled to learn that a 70-year old woman ran a marathon 50 years after she ran her first one. She was the first woman to ever do that, and she did it convincingly, in fact, only 24 minutes slower than she did her first marathon, at age 20.

In so doing, Kathrine Switzer broke yet another barrier in a lifetime of breaking barriers, and simultaneously celebrated 50 years of women’s athletic AND social achievements. She will be our guest speaker on Saturday, September 30th during our inaugural member-guest Women’s Weekend event.

Kathrine Switer is many things – an athlete, author, spokeswoman, commentator, and advocate.

She earned her bachelors in journalism and English, as well as her Masters from Syracuse University. But she will always be best known as the woman who, in 1967, challenged the all-male tradition of the Boston Marathon and became the first woman to officially enter and run the event. Her entry garnered worldwide attention when a race official tried to forcibly remove her from the competition. This was captured in a photo that became one of Time-Life’s “100 Photos that Changed the World.”

Kathrine has run 40 marathons, won the 1974 New York City Marathon and in 1975, her two-hour and 51-minute marathon in Boston was ranked sixth in the world and third in the US. She has been a runner for 58 years.

Having been denied many athletic opportunities herself, Kathrine became a tireless advocate for female athletes and, after organizing a global series of 400 women’s races in 27 countries, she was instrumental in making the women’s marathon an official event in the Olympic Games, first staged in 1984 in Los Angeles. She has advocated for women’s sports participation throughout the world and continues today with the creation of “261 Fearless”, a global non-profit movement that empowers women through running.

We are beyond excited to have her join us here at Hampton Lake and make this inaugural Women’s Weekend an event we will remember for years to come!

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