SkirtSports Blog: Kathrine Switzer responds: Why Nicole DeBoom is a 261 Woman

A 261 Woman is a woman who gets it. She’s a woman who knows that what we do is more than about running and fitness; it’s about changing women’s lives– our own, and others’. A 261 woman does not sit on her hands when there is a need, an opportunity to help or a challenge; she takes action.

I didn’t know that when I first met Nicole DeBoom in 2009 at a women’s half marathon. We were wildly busy with excited women in a crowded expo hall who wanted to meet us at our different booths, buy things and register for a 13.1 mile empowering adventure the next day. Nicole introduced herself to me and bought my book and I think I remember saying something about how amazing it is that the skirts I first wore in 1972 would now be fashionable in women’s running. Her booth was crowded and I was really happy for her; when I wore skirts in 1972 plenty of people (women especially) were critical, thinking I was being too ‘girly girl’. I’d ask them, ‘So why should women who are inventing a sport for themselves imitate men?’ I loved running in my little skirts and wraps; they were efficient and feminine.

Time passed and the trajectory of women’s running shot into the sky like a Roman candle. By 2012 there were more women runners than men in the United States (in 2013, 55% of American runners were women!), and their new found empowerment led to a revolution in sports retail. Running gave these women a new life and they wanted to look the part. Skirt Sports was ready for them. I always knew this would happen, but the speed of progress surprised even me.

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