The first woman to run the Boston Marathon in the United States participated the race again on Monday, 50 years after she was nearly forced off the course. In 1967, Kathrine Switzer had made history by running the all-male race by registering as KV Switzer, which had hidden her gender. On Monday, the 70-year-old completed the race just a few minutes slower than she did in her first try, in 4:44:31, The New York Times reported.
Switzer ran the marathon wearing the number 261, the same number male participants had tried to rip off her clothing in 1967. The number was retired from the marathon – only the second such number – after she completed the race. She was also given the honour of firing the gun for the women’s elite runners, which flagged off the marathon.
“In 1967, few would have believed that marathon running would someday attract millions of women, become a glamour event in the Olympics and on the streets of major cities, help transform views of women’s physical ability and help redefine their economic roles in traditional cultures,” Switzer had written in The New York Times in 2007.
Women were allowed to participate in the Boston Marathon from 1972.