Iconic athlete, sports and social advocate, author, and Emmy award-winning television commentator, Kathrine Switzer, will be the keynote speaker at the 2015 Girls on the Run Summit—an annual gathering of directors and board members from among the 225 councils of the nonprofit organization. Switzer will speak on the last day of the event, sharing her story of determination and courage that helped advance the status of women in sports.
Switzer was the first woman to officially enter and run the Boston Marathon. During the marathon—which had always been a men’s-only event—the race director attacked Switzer mid-stride and tried to physically remove her from the race. The photo of this incident created a world-wide uproar and became one of Time-Life’s “100 Photos that Changed the World.”
Radicalized by the incident, Switzer has spent her life campaigning for sports equality for women. In addition to running 39 marathons and winning the New York City Marathon in 1974, she created the Avon International Running Circuit of women’s-only races in 27 countries and played a role in convincing the IOC to include a women’s marathon in the Olympic Games. In 2011 she was inducted into the U.S.A. National Women’s Hall of Fame for breaking barriers and creating positive global social change. Because of her, millions of women are now empowered by the simple act of running.