Kathrine Switzer, First Woman to Complete the Boston Marathon, Takes On Great South Run

Womens Running Christmas

Running icon Kathrine Switzer is taking on the Great South Run on Sunday 16 October, alongside her husband Roger Robinson. 75-year-old Kathrine became one of sport’s most inspiring role models when she took on the Boston Marathon in 1967, despite prevailing attitudes around women and long distance running at the time.

Kathrine started the 70th staging of the Boston Marathon as the only registered woman alongside 740 male competitors.  Around mile two, Race Director Jock Semple attempted to physically pull her out of the race. Other competitors repelled him and Kathrine went on to become the first woman to officially complete the race in a time of 4 hours 20 minutes.

Press pictures of the altercation hit front pages across America and around the world, propelling Kathrine and the issue of women’s long distance running into the public consciousness.

“At the time, the idea of long-distance running was considered very questionable for women; people thought arduous activity meant that you would get big legs, become masculine, or be unable to have children. Women were really frightened of these myths, and missed out on so much running joy and good health.

“I was only 20 and all this happened in front of the press truck. I was scared, but I made the difficult decision to finish. If I quit, everybody would say it was a publicity stunt, it would set women’s sports back, way back, instead of forward and nobody would ever believe that women had the capability to run 26-plus miles. By the time I finished the race, I knew that my life mission was to create opportunities for women in running so they could feel as fearless and confident as I did.”

Kathrine’s husband Roger, a former elite runner himself, who continued to win national and age group titles after officially ‘retiring’, will be looking for a competitive time of 1:30 over the ten-mile course at the age of 83.

The Great South Run is returning to Portsmouth on Sunday 16 October. The event is part of an incredible weekend of running that also includes the Great South 5k and Junior Mini Great South Run on Saturday 15 October. Starting and finishing on the glorious seafront, the route offers a run through history, passing iconic landmarks including the Historic Dockyard, HMS Victory and Southsea Castle, along with breath-taking views of the Isle of Wight.

For more information or to enter click here.