Who Am I Thankful For? Kathrine Switzer, by Eric Gminiski, Run Haven

Who am I thankful for? Kathrine Switzer.

The mile.

It was the final element of the President’s Challenge Physical Fitness Test administered from elementary through high school, and it was the bane of my existence while growing up. Punctuated by heavy breathing, shin splints, and multiple walk breaks, those 10-plus minutes on the track twice each school year were hardly an enjoyable experience. At age 16, I never could have foreseen myself committing to a run of any distance longer than a mile (unless I was being chased!), let alone doing so multiple times each week. For fun.

Fast forward to July 8, 2013, when I set out for an early-morning 3-mile run. It was my first day of training for the Marine Corps Marathon. With bibs and medals from a few half marathons and many shorter events hanging on my wall, I decided it was time to go the distance as it were. Only later did I learn that I owed my racing rights to a woman named Kathrine Switzer.

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