Boston Marathon: Meet the first woman to run it – BBC News

In 1967, the American athlete Kathrine Switzer, became the first woman to run the Boston Marathon. At the time, athletics officials believed women were incapable of running more than a mile and a half. After crossing the finishing line, Switzer was disqualified. It was an experience that turned her into a campaigner for women’s sport.

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Comment (130)

  1. Kathrine Switser's finishing time of approximately 4 hours and 20 minutes was nearly an hour behind the first female finisher, Bobbi Gibb (who ran unregistered, and thus was not paid due attention and is [obviously deliberately] not mentioned here by Kathrine Switzer). Kathrine certainly did the right thing by meeting the bigotry head on, but when she implies she didn't plan confrontation when she entered under a non gendered name she's waffling. She was definitely an attention hog, and used the attention both to further her career and boost her ego.

  2. She didn't sit at home crying and complaining about how woman are a minority in this "Patriarchy" she went out and did what she enjoyed not letting anything stop her. But, feminists never recognize real women like this!

  3. She was not the first. She was the first to run with a number. Bobbi Gibb run the year before (1966), and also 1967, and finished before Switzer. Why they forgot to mention that in the video?

  4. The boyfriend is a hero. The coach is a guiding angel. Why are they not interviewed? It is those that see injustice and do something that deserve credit. some women think they can do it all on their own. this story shows different.

  5. There apparently some people who would disagree with the title of this video:

    "Bobbi…–The point was not to trick the officials into giving me an illegal number. The point was to demonstrate that I could run a marathon and run it well.

    Jan—So, far from being official, Kathy was less legal than you. She was running with an illegal and invalid men’s division number even though technically she was in the unsanctioned women’s division race." ………..

    "Jan—It bothers me that no one takes Switzer up on this stuff. She is deluding the public and giving the impression to everyone that she was the first. She has those photos, which she uses as her trademark of Jock trying to remove her illegal number. It’s like a cigarette ad—an image, the Malboro Man… Smoke Cools… or Virginia Slims.
    Laurie—That’s her career, PR, sports announcing, race promotion getting race sponsorship.
    Jan—But it’s false advertising. It’s not good for her in the long run. When people find out the truth, they are angry. She looses credibility. And it certainly casts a shadow over the running community. And its not good for women either to find out that a woman who has marketed herself as a women’s rights advocate has been less than honest."

  6. Great! Wonderful! Really a great accomplishment and it opened the door to fairness and equality. Hooray for Kathrine! But in all the stories, there is no mention of the name of her boyfriend who nailed the official who tried to yank her out of the race. So congratulations to that unheralded hero who put the great downfield block that sent the "official" flying out of bounds and save the day. Come on Kathrine, you say he was your boyfriend, but you never mention his name. You know, the old saying is true, "Behind every great woman, is a great man!"

  7. katherine was not the first woman to run boston,bobbi gibb was first in 1966 ,she was first to cross the finish in 1967 and 1968 , katherine was the second woman that is the truth,charlie rodgers

  8. Katherine Switzer was the first women to “officially” run the Boston marathon but Roberta Louise "Bobbi" Gibb is the first woman to have run the entire Boston Marathon.

  9. I am not sure if anyone mentioned it in this thread already, (and I have not yet seen the video completely) but though Katherine Switzer is one of the first women to ever run the Boston Marathon, there reportedly was a woman who did it before her by the name of Bobbi Gibb. Ms Switzer has made something of a business talking about herself as the first woman to do it (or so it seems) but she may not actually have been the very first woman to run the Boston.

  10. Men use to really think we'd grow a mustache??? I never heard something so stupid in my life and these were the men representing Boston really

  11. Actually Roberta Gabe was the first even if she ran unoficially and did sneek into the race. Kathrine Switzer was the first women to officially run a Marathon and the first woman to officially run the Boston Marathon in 1967 with the number 261.

  12. A real show of courage in her for taking on such a dangerous move! and also, The Real hero, her boyfriend and the two other guys fighting to keep her safe the whole way👍!

  13. So let's be clear. One man had a problem with a woman running. That was the director of the race who you see in the photo chasing after her..  Maybe he was a sexist, maybe he was a narcissist control freak or both.

    But her coach, boyfriend and running partner obviously had no problem with her running the marathon. And from what Katherine Switzer has said herself in other interviews of this, many of the other men running the marathon were friendly to her and got a kick out of her being there.

    But the common narrative behind this story seems to frame it as if most men at the time would have a problem with it.

    Yet, there is no evidence here that most men at the time seemed to really give a shit if a woman was running or not.

  14. Bobbi Gibb is not as significant because this woman run for other women. This woman fought for others. This woman made sacrifices for others. Bobbi Gibb is not mentioned because she did it for herself not others.

  15. I don't understand how that man who attacked her became so angry. It's just like the sit-in's from the 1960's. The White people in the diner became enraged at the sight of black people sitting at a lunch counter to order food. How in the world could that make someone violently angry? I'll probably never understand how the brains of people like that work.

  16. I heard a podcast interviewing her about this today . Inspirational woman. Crazy to think that they were excluded from this but so long ago.
    I love seeing woman’s sport go from strength to strength these days!!

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