At 70 years old, Kathrine Switzer has run 40 marathons in her life—and she has no intention of stopping anytime soon.
Switzer first came to the public eye in 1967, when she was the first woman to run the Boston Marathon. Back then, she had to use her initials, K. V., instead of her first name to sign up because women weren’t allowed to enter. When people realized what the lipstick-wearing runner had done, a race manager tried physically shoving her off during the run. But she managed to plug on, finishing in four hours and twenty minutes.
To mark the 50-year anniversary of the race, Switzer entered again at age 70. She finished in 4:44:31—not even 25 minutes longer than she’d run the 26.1 miles when she was 20. “Somebody at 70 is running as well as you run at 20, and you say, ‘That’s phenomenal,’ but the body is incredible,” she says. “We’re transforming ourselves.”
Two years before the race, Switzer announced her plan. The science and advice had changed since her first competition, and she wanted help figuring out a training plan. “It was important to me not to get injured during that two-year period or get ill,” she says. “I wasn’t competing, but I didn’t want to be out there for six hours. I had a little pride.”