Kathrine Switzer hit the course for Monday's Boston Marathon as one of the more than 13,000 women runners.
Fifty years ago, she was the first woman to officially compete in and finish the event. She again donned bib No. 261, the same number she wore in 1967, as she began the race at about 11:20 a.m. ET.
“Get the hell out of my race and give me those numbers,” race organizer Jock Semple yelled at her that year as he attempted to yank off her bib and then her top during the race.
Switzer, thanks to running partner and fellow Syracuse student Tom Miller, escaped the grasp of Semple and continued that day. She was 20 at the time and finished the race in four hours, 20 minutes, although she wasn’t the fastest female competitor. Roberta Gibb ran the race unofficially an hour faster.
Gibb had become the first woman to run the Boston Marathon a year prior as she concealed her gender by wearing a hoodie at the start of the race. Her secret, however, was revealed later in the race when she ditched the sweatshirt.
Switzer, however, was the first official Boston Marathon female participant, and her struggle that day wearing the No. 261 bib eventually led to the start of 261 Fearless, a foundation established to support women as they “take on their personal challenges through running or walking.”
The Boston Marathon first allowed women to race officially in 1972. Switzer's bib number will be retired after Monday's race.
Switzer served as the honorary starter for the women's elite race, won by Kenya's Edna Kiplagat, before taking to the course herself.
Switzer told The Boston Globe she still has that 1967 bib at her home. It did suffer some damage when Semple tried to rip it off her.
“I have it hidden in my house,” Switzer said. “No, you would never find it. My house is a mess. Everything’s piled up. Heaps and heaps and heaps. Paper and stuff like that.”
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