First woman to complete the Boston Marathon appears in Reading (VIDEO), Reading Eagle, By Beth Hudson

Kathrine Switzer is less than a month away from running her first New York City Marathon in 42 years.

She decided to enter the Nov. 5 event during the post-race euphoria she experienced this year after successfully completing the Boston Marathon on the 50th anniversary of her barrier-breaking finish.
Summing up the decision, Switzer grinned: “Oh, that felt great. Let’s do New York!”

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Reading Eagle: Jeremy Drey | Kathrine Switzer holds her bib from 1967, when she was the first woman to officially enter and complete the Boston Marathon.

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Reading Eagle: Jeremy Drey | Kathrine Switzer, in 1967, was the first woman to register and finish the Boston Marathon, holding a bib with her historic number 261, outside the hotel. Switzer spoke during a Greater Reading Chamber of Commerce & Industry Women 2 Women event held at the DoubleTree. Photo by Jeremy Drey 10/10/2017

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Jeremy Drey | Kathrine Switzer, in 1967, was the first woman to register and finish the Boston Marathon. Switzer spoke during a Greater Reading Chamber of Commerce & Industry Women 2 Women event held at the DoubleTree. Photo by Jeremy Drey 10/10/2017

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Jeremy Drey | Kathrine Switzer, in 1967, was the first woman to register and finish the Boston Marathon, right. Switzer spoke during a Greater Reading Chamber of Commerce & Industry Women 2 Women event held at the DoubleTree. Photo by Jeremy Drey 10/10/2017

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Reading Eagle: Jeremy Drey | Kathrine Switzer holds her bib from 1967, when she was the first woman to officially enter and complete the Boston Marathon.

Buy this Image

Reading Eagle: Jeremy Drey | Kathrine Switzer, in 1967, was the first woman to register and finish the Boston Marathon, holding a bib with her historic number 261, outside the hotel. Switzer spoke during a Greater Reading Chamber of Commerce & Industry Women 2 Women event held at the DoubleTree. Photo by Jeremy Drey 10/10/2017

Buy this Image

Jeremy Drey | Kathrine Switzer, in 1967, was the first woman to register and finish the Boston Marathon. Switzer spoke during a Greater Reading Chamber of Commerce & Industry Women 2 Women event held at the DoubleTree. Photo by Jeremy Drey 10/10/2017

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Jeremy Drey | Kathrine Switzer, in 1967, was the first woman to register and finish the Boston Marathon, right. Switzer spoke during a Greater Reading Chamber of Commerce & Industry Women 2 Women event held at the DoubleTree. Photo by Jeremy Drey 10/10/2017

First woman to complete the Boston Marathon appears in Reading (VIDEO)
Wednesday October 11, 2017 12:01 AM
Written by Beth Hudson
READING, PA
Kathrine Switzer is less than a month away from running her first New York City Marathon in 42 years.

She decided to enter the Nov. 5 event during the post-race euphoria she experienced this year after successfully completing the Boston Marathon on the 50th anniversary of her barrier-breaking finish.
Summing up the decision, Switzer grinned: “Oh, that felt great. Let’s do New York!”

She is known for being the first woman to officially enter and complete Boston in 1967, when she had far more than cold weather and fatigue to battle. A race official tried to pull her off the course, because the event was open only to men.

Switzer, then 20, just wanted to prove she could finish 26.2 miles; she did.

Fifty years later, her story has become much bigger than that iconic moment. She is running still – and using the journey to bring others with her.

“Running is transformational,” Switzer said, “not just for me, but for millions of women – and men, too.”

Switzer, who resides in New York’s Hudson Valley and New Zealand, brought her message here Tuesday, addressing a crowd of 400 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Reading. The event was presented by Pagoda Pacers Athletic Club and Women2Women.

Switzer shared anecdotes while encouraging the audience to find opportunities in their own lives.
She stumbled on to one at age 12. Her father suggested she run a mile each day in preparation for joining her school’s field hockey team.

Though she couldn’t fully describe it then, Switzer soon felt like a stronger version of herself.
“I felt like I had some kind of secret weapon,” Switzer said. “As long as I ran, I had my own body under control. I was the master of my body and mind.

“I didn’t know I was being empowered. I simply thought it was magic.”

As a college student at Syracuse, she ran alongside the men’s cross country team because there wasn’t a women’s squad. One of the coaches, Arnie Briggs, piqued her interest in marathons by speaking glowingly of Boston.

Switzer’s application for the 1967 race likely slipped through because she used her first initial rather than her full first name. She also believes running would have been part of her future even if her first race hadn’t drawn controversy.

“I know for a fact I would have been very, very active in women’s running,” Switzer said. “I know for a fact I would have tried to create opportunities. I don’t think I would have been quite so pushy about those opportunities.

“Women’s running was emerging. It felt so great. I wanted everybody to feel that way.”
Switzer won the New York City Marathon in 1974. She’s an Emmy Award-winning broadcaster who’s covered hundreds of races in her career. She’s written books. She’s organized events.

Her goal is to share this passion with women in Africa, the Middle East – every corner of the world.
Her latest venture, 261 Fearless, Inc., is a global non-profit inspired by the bib, No. 261, she wore in her first Boston Marathon.

“People all around the world were sending me pictures with their race bibs on, but on their backs they would be wearing 261,” Switzer said. “They all kept saying, ‘It makes me feel fearless.’ ”
The organization’s mission, in part, is to provide a “global community for women runners of all abilities to support, encourage and inspire each other.”

Switzer leads by example. She returned to marathons after a 32-year hiatus in which she focused on her career and ran only shorter races.

“The last time I ran New York City, it was entirely in Central Park,” Switzer said. “When I won it, it was in Central Park. I’ve been on the back of a motorcycle for 28 years doing TV commentary. I always felt kind of flat afterward.

“I said, ‘Some day, I have to run the five boroughs.’ This is the year. If not now, when?”

It’s the message she carries with her every day.

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