In 1967, a young female runner registered for the Boston Marathon—a men’s only race at the time—using only her initials. K.V. Switzer was issued bib number 261 and began the race among the men. A few miles after the start, race official Jock Semple spotted the woman and, angered that she dare crash his event, he tried pushing her off the course. The image of their confrontation, along withKathrine Switzer’s subsequent advocacy, helped open up more road races to women and further women’s rights in sports.
The historic moment is the inspiration behind 261 Women’s Marathon, a new race launching in Palma de Mallorca, Spain next year. The inaugural event will be held March 30, 2014.
“I’m very proud that my old bib number has evolved over time to become a symbol for overcoming a challenge,” Switzer said at the event’s press launch in Madrid. “This is an opportunity for all women who want to overcome a challenge, from those who want to run their first marathon to those who want to learn how to win.”