In 1967, Katherine Switzer became the first woman ever to run for a marathon, challenging patriarchal tradition as till then no female was allowed to run for a marathon. She made history during the Boston Marathon of 1967. Fifty years on, Katherine Switzer returned to run for Boston Marathon yet again to inspire millions.

She retained her old Bib no 261, which was snatched away from her in 1967 because as soon as the officials realised that ‘by mistake’ they have allowed a woman to be part of  the marathon, they forced her to leave the race. Photographs of her running in the marathon with one of the officials trying to snatch her Bib no from her T-shirt and trying to push her off, were splashed across all the major newspapers of that time.

Unlike in 1967, this time when Katherine Switzer returned there were many other women participating with her in the marathon, including members of her social running community, 261 Fearless. She set up this community for women runners, as well as for those women who are only just beginning to run. The community has also helped women overcome their difficulties through sharing the same experience.
At 70, Katherine Switzer continues to inspire millions of women and is a role-model for those who find it difficult to overcome their fears.  So, when she tweeted that she was ‘ready to go’ for the marathon this time, this is how Twitter reacted:

She finished the marathon triumphantly in 4 hrs 48 minutes and  6seconds. Here’s a video she posted on her ‘261 Fearless’ community’s Facebook page: