In 1967, Kathrine Switzer became the first woman to officially enter and complete the Boston marathon. Now, 50 years later, she returned to compete at the event wearing her iconic 261 bib. The number has become so important that marathon organizers retired the bib in Switzer’s honor, on completion of this year’s race.
Switzer’s initial entry to the Boston marathon was un-heard of, and controversial at the time. Although there were no specific rules stating that woman could not compete, high-performance sports were a male-dominated arena, and that was the cultural norm.
Switzer however changed this, and in the face of physical and verbal abuse, completed the marathon in four hours and twenty minutes. This led the way for woman in sport, helping more individuals engage and compete in a variety of events, at the highest levels.
To read more about Switzer’s experience and comments on the Boston marathon, please follow the reference title above.