Monday, April 16, 2012 • 6:55 AM Post a Comment

Boston Marathon: 40 Years Co-Ed and Counting

posted by Pete Redington

Happy Marathon Monday!

Patriot's Day is always special in the Bay State. The running of the world's oldest annual marathon. An early Sox game at Fenway. Early crowds at Boston's many bars. The rememberance of "the shot heard round the world." The first day of school vacation.

But this year's marathon is extra special, because it marks the 40-year anniversary of its first co-ed running, back in 1972, as NPR's news blog, "The Two-Way" reports.

Of course, that was a full five years after Katherine Switzer broke the gender barrier guerrilla-style, registering as "K.V. Switzer" and successfully bypassing the pre-race physical by saying she had already taken it.

Not all present at that 1967 running were pleased with Switzer, however. Race organizer Jock Semple (whose name is almost too perfect in this story), expressing views that thankfully seem so backward today, tried to throw her out of the race (for her own good, according to him), but was unable to do so when Switzer's boyfriend stood in his way.

"I'm going to finish this race on my hands and knees if I have to," Switzer recalls saying, "because nobody believes that I can do this."

Switzer tells the story in the Women Who Make America video below:

Watch Kathrine Switzer on PBS. See more from Makers: Women Who Make America.

Extra thanks to Switzer on this Marathon Monday.

Go Sox.

And have a wicked pissah Patriot's Day!

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