This Syracuse alum is running the Boston Marathon for the second time at 70 years old

She ran 50 years ago when women were not allowed to race

Today is the 121st Boston Marathon and a historic day for a Syracuse alum. In 1967 Kathrine Switzer snuck into the Boston Marathon by putting her initials down as K.V. just to be able to run. Now 50 years later she is able to line up surrounded by thousands of other women who have the same goal.

When Switzer first ran the marathon in 1967, women were not allowed to run because they were seen as “too fragile” to finish the race. However, Switzer was determined to prove that women could run it too. Switzer lined up like all the other men and finished the race. Her challenge was not only running 26.2 miles, but being strong enough to ignore all the criticism. At mile 4 the director of the marathon attempted to rip the bib off her chest and eject her from the race, but her coach and boyfriend, (who were running with her) were able to push the director away.

She made headlines for breaking the gender norm surrounding female runners and was soon inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame. In addition, she received an honor that only one other person has earned before, which is that her number was retired from the Boston Marathon.

Today she is 70 years old and running alongside many other women, who are able to run because of her courage. Running a marathon is no easy task, but she is now able to run without the fear of anyone stopping her because she is a woman. There has been a lot that has changed since she last ran the marathon, but the one thing that hasn’t changed is that she will be running today in the same number she wore in 1967.

Switzer graduated from Syracuse University with a bachelor’s degree in 1968 and a master’s in 1972. Syracuse is proud of Switzer’s determination and wishes her the best of luck with the race.

Syracuse University