Kathrine Switzer is pleased to announce the launch of 261 Fearless, Inc., a global non-profit aimed to connect women runners in a unique community that provides communication platforms, clubs, events, training and merchandizing. 261 Fearless uses running as the means to empower women to overcome life obstacles and embrace healthy living. The community unites under 261 which is the race number Kathrine so fearlessly defending from an angry race director trying to eject her from participating in the all-male 1967 Boston Marathon.
“I have spent my career working for women’s voice and opportunity in the running world. With most marathons in the U.S. having 50% female participation, I thought it was time for me to retire,” stated Switzer. “But then the movement came to me. Women all over the world wrote to me with stories about how my story inspired them – and then I started to see a theme – women were sending me pictures of themselves wearing or tattooing on their bodies – 261 – and they were all telling me it inspired them to feel FEARLESS. I knew that if I could channel these women’s energy and create an organization with global programs and a safe communication platform , together we could find ways to use running to reach women in adverse situations to help them find their FEARLESS too.”
The start gun has gone off for Kathrine’s 261 Fearless organization. Though many of the programs are in their infancy – it is growing fast and already has global representation. The 261 Fearless Ambassador program launched at the beginning of October with 250 women representing 18 countries. These Ambassadors are using their passion for running to connect with one another and help 261 Fearless, Inc. identify needs in local communities. These women also will help grow the 261 Fearless Running Club system.
261 Fearless Running Clubs for women provide a weekly touch point for women to develop a healthy approach to running. These clubs uniquely combine women of all running abilities, ages and backgrounds. The club system, already strong in middle Europe, will be available for women runners to start in their hometowns. The 261 Train the Trainer program, a pre-requisite to start a 261 Fearless Club provides leaders with the tools to train, manage, enroll and sustain a community of women runners.
The inaugural United States 261 Fearless Train the Trainer Retreat will be held in New York City to coincide with the New York City Marathon, the race Kathrine was victorious in 1974. This three-day intensive training will bring the 261 philosophies and missions to14 women from around the world.
In addition to these strong community building approaches, 261 Fearless participates in running events. The 261 Women’s Marathon in Mallorca Spain boasts its third season in 2016. 261 Fearless also has partners with global events with shared core values. The Bellin Women’s Half Marathon in Green Bay, Wisconsin held on September 26 was the first U.S. 261 Fearless Partner event. 261 Fearless has also partnered with the Des Moines Marathon (October 18, 2015) and the inaugural Women’s Right to Run 19k in Seneca Falls, NY (May 7, 2016). Additional 261 Global Events and Partner events are developing.
For more information on the 261 Fearless Programs and Movement, please visit www.261fearless.org. Inquiries into interviews with Kathrine Switzer or to join opportunities with 261 Fearless in New York City on October 30th through November 1st, please contact Director of Community Outreach, Chris Grack at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Kathrine Switzer
Iconic athlete, sports and social advocate, author, and Emmy award-winning television commentator, Kathrine Switzer was the first woman to officially enter and run the Boston Marathon. She has been honored widely for her achievements, most recently being inducted into the USA National Women’s Hall of Fame for creating positive social change. The ramifications of this work is both joyful and profound, changing forever the face of sports, health, and opportunities for women around the world and fearlessly empowering millions beyond the finish line, through non-profit 261 Fearless, Inc. For more information on Kathrine, please visit www.katrhineswitzer.com. Additional insight on 261 Fearless may be found at www.261fearless.org.