When Kathrine Switzer went to register for the 1967 Boston Marathon, she was confident she could cover the 26.2 miles. Only one problem, she discovered — a woman had never registered for the race since its founding in 1897.
There was, however, nothing about gender in the rule book or on the entry form, and, so, undaunted and unafraid, the Syracuse undergrad signed up as “K.V. Switzer” and was given bib No. 261.
The rest, as is said, is history.
Switzer went on to finish the marathon, despite being attacked mid-race by race official Jock Semple. The irate Semple tried to tear Switzer’s number from the back of her gray sweatshirt.
Her boyfriend, an all-American football player, knocked Semple out of the way with a body block. All this took place a few yards in front of a truck full of media, and photographs of the incident spread around the world.
Switzer immediately became famous, fame she used in pioneering women’s running internationally, becoming instrumental in getting the women’s marathon into the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games.
Now, Boulder’s Nicole DeBoom and her Skirt Sports are honoring Switzer by launching the “261 Fearless” line of women’s sports clothing. The idea, DeBoom and Switzer said during a recent get-together at Skirt Sports’ Gunbarrel headquarters, is to honor all women who battle to overcome obstacles.