Athlete. Activist. Author.
Kathrine Switzer has long been one of running’s most iconic figures. Not just for breaking barriers as the first woman to officially run the Boston Marathon in 1967, but also for creating positive global social change. Because of her millions of women are now empowered by the simple act of running.
Highlights of Kathrine’s iconic career
- Broke Gender Barrier at 1967 Boston Marathon
- Inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in October 2011 for creating positive global social change
- Winner, 1974 NYC Marathon
- Emmy Award-winning TV commentator
- Author, Marathon Woman (DaCapo Press), Running and Walking for Women Over 40, the Road to Sanity and Vanity (St. Martin’s Press), co-author 26.2 Marathon Stories (Rodale Press)
- Founder, Avon Running Global Women’s Circuit
- Winner of Abebe Bikila Award for Global Contribution to Sport of Running from New York Road Runners
- First class of inductees into the National Distance Running Hall of Fame
- Named one of the Visionaries of the Century (2000) and a Hero of Running (2012), and Runner of the Decade (1966-76) by Runners World Magazine
The Boston Marathon
Her work began accidentally in 1967 when she was the first woman to officially enter the Boston Marathon, at that time considered a men’s-only race. Her entry revolutionized the sports world when she was physically attacked by the race director for wearing official bib numbers in the race. The photo of this incident flashed around the globe and became one of Time-Life’s “100 Photos that Changed the World.”
Switzer finished the ‘67 Boston Marathon but was radicalized by the incident and determined to create change for women. She campaigned to make women official in the Boston Marathon in 1972 and later that year was one of the creators of the first women’s road race. Now, four decades later, the incident continues to capture the public imagination and is largely the reason Switzer has dedicated her multi-faceted career to creating opportunities on all fronts for women.
Switzer has run 41 marathons, won the 1974 New York City Marathon and in 1975, her two-hour and 51-minute marathon in Boston was ranked sixth in the world and third in the USA in women’s marathon. She is still running marathons today.
After a successful athletic career and in tandem with her work to improve circumstances for women athletes, she turned her attention to a sports marketing career, broadcasting, and motivating others in both fitness and business.
In 2004, Switzer decided to focus her considerable energies on writing, speaking and, to a lesser extent, television broadcasting, all of which she had done for 25 years on a part-time basis.
Her first book, Running and Walking for Women Over 40 was first published in 1997. In 2005, 26.2 Marathon Stories, co-authored with husband Roger Robinson, was published, followed in 2007 by her memoir Marathon Woman (Soft cover published in 2009).
Her articles have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Parade, Next, Women’s Today, Runners World, Running Times and other publications. She is the current ‘On the Road’ columnist for Marathon & Beyond magazine.
Switzer developed also into a dynamic and effective speaker. She is a woman who has pioneered an obscure activity into global movement, and has parlayed her success as an iconoclastic athlete also into successful corporate sports marketing and public relations careers with Avon (1977-2002), AMF Incorporated (1973-1977), and Bristol Myers (1968-1972). Whether business, sports or health, Switzer is sought after to speak to corporate, university, association and convention groups because she is an inspiring, fit, authentic success herself.
Kathrine Switzer is a popular guest personality on TV and radio shows around the world, as well a professional sports commentator herself. A few of her guest TV appearances have been on Oprah, Today, Tonight, Good Morning America, CBS Evening News, Nightline, PBS, HBO,ESPN, CBC (Canada), BBC (UK), TVNZ (New Zealand), NHK (Japan) ZDF (Germany),RAI (Italy), TF1 (France) and Globo (Brazil). She brings her clients exceptional publicity opportunities.
At age 70, Switzer is still running marathons, having completed the Berlin Marathon in 2011 to launch the German edition of Marathon Woman. She also won her age group in the extremely difficult 2011 Motatapu off-road mountain marathon in New Zealand, and in 2010 fulfilled a lifetime dream of running the 2,500th anniversary race of the Athens Marathon.
Kathrine is married to Dr. Roger Robinson, author, columnist, emeritus professor and former world-class runner. Kathrine and Roger divide their time living in the Hudson Valley of New York and Wellington, New Zealand.
Fitness, of course, is a key component of Kathrine’s life. She has run regularly for over 50 years and today is widely recognized as an innovator and leader in women’s fitness, health and longevity as well as running. For many years, she has motivated hundreds of thousands of women around the world to the starting line of fitness, using running or walking as a cost-effective and time-efficient means for women to obtain heath, optimum weight and self-esteem. “My run is still the most important hour of my day,” she says. Her first marathon was run at age 20 and at 64 she ran the Berlin Marathon, showing that age is not always a barrier to physical accomplishment.
Education, Awards & Honors
Switzer received both her BA (dual degree in journalism and English) and her MS (in Public Relations) from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Public Communications. Switzer has received numerous citations and awards for her efforts in advancing sports opportunities for women.