Meeting Kathrine Switzer: The 1st woman to run the Boston Marathon!

NEWS | | December 3, 2012 at 10:21 am

I was invited to the WGBH recently and I never say NO to an invite from there. That place oozes education and just standing in the foyer makes me feel smart. One of the things I am extremely proud of being a Bostonian is the fact that women’s rights have had such strong movements out of here. This was to celebrate the documentary, presented by AOL and Simple Skin Care, MAKERS: The Women Who Make America. The bonus was I would get to meet Kathrine Switzer, the 1st woman to run the Boston Marathon. I also got to meet filmmaker Dyllan McGee and other executives behind the project.

I had seen that picture of Kathrine getting pushed out of the race on my Facebook stream during the entire “Marathon season” and again during political season so I was dying to meet her. The snippet of the documentary had me in almost tears which I was fighting off since I actually wore makeup and brushed my hair, yes you can say I was excited. This upcoming PBS documentary that shares the stories of exceptional women whose pioneering contributions have shaped America had me proud and sad at the same time. I strongly believe it is not women’s rights but human rights.

There was a part in the documentary where Ruth Bader Ginsburg spoke of how she was called in while studying at Harvard and asked, along with the other female students, why they were taking up a good seat when they were males who could use that seat. Also how she finished in the top in her class but received rejection after rejection. Just typing this makes me emotionally angry and sad, yet proud that she fought her way and is now in the US Supreme Court Justice. She also described the first time President Clinton called her to the White House as feeling like a bride.


From groundbreakers like Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to entertainer Ellen Degeneres and activist Gloria Steinem, theinitiative aims to become the largest and most dynamic collection of women’s stories ever assembled and explores a digital platform to showcase their impact.

Kathrine spoke of how she had no intention to change history but just wanted to run a race. She entered the race using her initials as she wanted to legitimately enter the race. The Boston Marathon did not officially say “no women” but it was an assumed rule. She was shaken after the organizer tried to physically push her out (I am still shaking as I write this) but her boyfriend came to her defense. I think I may have just cried at that point, Kathrine however realized that now she had to complete it as there were several eyes on her. It took a whole 5 years later for the Boston Marathon to officially allow women.

I knew a fellow blogger Julia (of Not Like a Cat) and knew she was a Boston Marathon participant. I asked her to be my guest since I knew while I was the feminist in the room, she would feel it even more that it was because of this woman she was getting to participate. After Kathrine spoke we went up to her. The woman hugged us. Genuinely hugged. She chatted and wished Julia well.

Thank you Kathrine, and all the amazing women who blaze trails so we all can find new ways and make some of our own.

The documentary that’s set to launch in February 2013 and you can be sure I will be watching.

Watch MAKERS: Women Who Make America Trailer on PBS. See more from Makers: Women Who Make America.

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