She Persisted

“No dame ever ran the Boston Marathon!” was what her coach, Arnie Briggs, told 20 year-old journalism student and ardent distance runner Kathrine Switzer when she asked him to train her for the 1967 running of the prestigious race. But Briggs, gruff though he may have been, was willing to work with Switzer.

Typically when one runs a marathon, they are pursuing a personal best by racing against the clock or pushing themselves to outpace a rival. On the day of the race, Switzer found herself trying to outrun Jock Semple, the marathon’s co-director. Unaware a woman was participating (Switzer had entered using her initials), he physically accosted her a few miles into the race, “Get the hell out of my race and give me those numbers!” he screamed. while trying to rip Switzer’s bib, #261, off her sweatshirt. But she kept running, refusing to let her shock and anger slow her down.

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