Did women always run Boston Marathon?

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In the 1960s, women were not allowed to run marathons like the Boston Marathon. Kathrine Switzer entered the 1967 Boston Marathon under the name KV Switzer, but officials tried to remove her from the course. Women were officially allowed to run the Boston Marathon in 1972 and the Olympic marathon in 1984. Switzer ran the Boston Marathon again in 2017 at age 70.

Today, more than half of marathon runners in the United States are women, but that wasn’t always the case. In the 1960s, women were considered “too frail” to run 26.2 miles (42km) and couldn’t compete in events like the Boston Marathon. But Kathrine Switzerland, a 20-year-old runner, disagreed. You entered the 1967 Boston Marathon under the name of KV Switzer, lining up with 740 men at the start. However, just a few miles into the race, officials figured it out. In a moment immortalized in a famous photograph, a very angry race official named Jock Semple tried to throw Switzer off the course and snatch bib No. Switzer’s boyfriend, who was racing alongside her, provided a timely body block and finished the race in 261 hours and 4 minutes.

A long and difficult path to equality:

Bobbi Gibb was actually the first woman to run the entire Boston Marathon. She is recognized by the Boston Athletic Association as a women’s winner in 1966, 1967 and 1968, but she competed as an unofficial competitor.
Women were officially licensed to run in the Boston Marathon in 1972 and were licensed to compete in the Olympic marathon in 1984.
Kathrine Switzer set her personal best at the Boston Marathon in 1975, with a time of 2:51:37. In 2017, at age 70, Switzer ran the race again, finishing with a time of 4:44:31. She called the race “one of the most rewarding emotional experiences she has ever had.”

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