When Kathrine Switzer ran the Boston Marathon in 1967, she didn't set out to make history. She focused on the same things that occupy the minds of many marathon runners: pace, timing, nutrition and exhaustion.
But when a truck full of press and the race director began harassing her, two miles into the race, Switzer became a key figure in running history. Switzer was the first woman to enter the race officially. The race director opposed her entry, and he tried to tear her number off her shirt.
"I was terrified, scared and exceptionally humiliated," she recalls. Switzer's then-boyfriend, a former All-American football player, tackled the race director. Switzer's coach yelled for her to continue running, and she took off.
Switzer completed the race, but the press was relentless. "But don't forget, I had the support of the men in the race," Switzer said. "Race directors loved it and they invited me to their races."
Switzer will run the 2017 Boston Marathon on the 50th anniversary of her iconic race. She is training with the 261 Fearless Foundation, an organization that encourages women's empowerment through running.
Host Frank Stasio talked with Switzer about the marathon, her life since that race and training for the Boston Marathon again 50 years later. "Running has been the hub of my life," she said.
Kathrine Switzer speaks tomorrow night at the Girls On The Run of the Triangle gala event.