Kathrine Switzer

Kathrine Switzer

Kathrine Switzer, Marathon Runner. She was the first woman to run the Boston Marathon as a numbered entry. During that 1967 run, a race official tried to stop her by grabbing her bib, but Kathrine’s boyfriend (later, husband) who was also running pushed him away to help allow her to finish the race. She had registered under a gender-neutral K.V. Switzer, as women would not be allowed to run the Marathon officially for another 5 years. 

"I was just so humiliated and so frightened because it happened out of the blue. I was really blindsided by it and could hear, when all this was going on, the cameras clicking. And I'm thinking, 'This is like a very, very bad dream.'

"All these years later, I have to thank Jock Semple for attacking me in the Boston Marathon. Because he created a photograph. One of the most galvanizing photographs in the women's rights movement, because it moved from running into the social context.It was really amazing that, that negative has become one of the most positive things in my life. He not only angered me that day and frightened me, but he inspired me."

"[Semple] was thinking I was a girl and shouldn't be there and I was making a mockery of his race. I knew he thought I was a clown, but I was serious. And then a wonderful thing happened -- I got really angry… I'm going to finish this race on my hands and my knees if I have to. Nobody is going to believe women deserve to be here if I don't finish this race."

"I often say I started the Boston Marathon as a girl and finished as a grown woman.” 

ESPN, Photograph via PBS

Aesha Ash

Aesha Ash

Reese Witherspoon

Reese Witherspoon