Kathrine Switzer

Kathrine Switzer


Giclée print 11’ x 14’ // 27,9 x 35,6 cm
Printed on 300 gsm paper, slightly textured with a chalky smooth cotton feel. 
Signed and numbered.
Includes A5 card detailing Kathrine’s extraordinary story.*

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Traditional sports began opening to women in the 1950s and 1960s, but the idea of a woman running long distance was unthinkable until well into the 1970s. Marathons would be too much of a strain on the frail female body; women’s health would be damaged.

In 1967, 19-year old Kathrine Switzer entered the Boston Marathon. Although there was no official rule about gender, the event had been
an all-male affair for 70 years. She had signed the entry form with her initials K.V. Switzer — like she had always done — which meant organisers hadn’t realised there would be a woman taking part in the race.

So in April 1967 there she was, with the number 261 proudly pinned on her top.

During the race, one of the event’s directors saw her running and suddenly attacked her, tried to rip off her bib and fiercely yelled “Get the hell out of my race and give me those numbers!”. Her running companions pushed away the man and they all continued to run.

The press, who happened to witness the entire episode from their truck, turned aggressive and asked her what she was trying to prove.

She just wanted to run. She had trained hard. Most people didn’t believe she could do it. And if she didn’t finish the race, everybody would believe women can’t do it, that they don’t deserve to take part.

And so she did it, she finished the race. That night pictures of her running, being attacked and being saved were all over the press.

She was later disqualified and expelled from the athletic federation for reasons including running with men, running more than a 1.5 miles (the legal limit for women) and running without a chaperone.

Women were finally officially allowed to compete in the Boston Marathon in 1972, and to run the Olympic Marathon in 1982.