Kathrine Switzer and Molly Barker sat at the same table Thursday night in the corner of the room at the Hartford Hilton, feeding off each other’s energy.
The two women have a lot of it.
Switzer, who ran the Boston Marathon in 1967 despite a ban on female runners, talked about how women around the world have seized upon the significance of 261, the number she wore on her bib that day, as an emblem for fearlessness.
Barker talked about how she founded Girls on the Run 18 years ago in North Carolina to empower young women.
“Molly will tell you, if you can empower a girl at that particular age, she will be empowered for life,” Switzer said. “But it is interesting, empowerment comes at any age. I started back marathon running because I was meeting women who were 65, 70, 75 who were just starting to run and getting that sense of power and strength and freedom and I got so jealous because I hadn’t run a marathon in 32 years. I went back to it. I wanted to prove to myself I could still do it. I ran the Berlin Marathon in 2011 and I qualified for Boston.”
“I’m running Boston in 2017, the 50th anniversary. There are a flotilla of women who are joining us. I’m going to be 70. I want us all to wear 261.”