Kathrine Switzer

Athlete, Advocate, and Commentator

Headshot photo of Kathrine Switzer

Iconic athlete, sports and social advocate, and Emmy award-winning television commentator, Kathrine Switzer changed sports history by becoming the first woman to officially enter the Boston Marathon. A widely published photograph showing the race director trying to pull her off the course instantly made her the face of women’s running. Radicalized by this event, she responded by creating the Avon International Running Circuit of women-only races, which have attracted over a million participants in 27 countries since 1978. In her latest effort to support women runners, she launched a global network of running clubs called 261 Fearless to fill the void in countries and regions where women’s races don’t exist. Switzer has been honored widely for her advocacy, including induction into the USA National Women’s Hall of Fame for creating positive social change. In addition to her TV coverage of the Olympic Games and other major championships, she has written three books, including the memoir Marathon Woman. In 2017, Switzer again ran the Boston Marathon to celebrate 50 years of women’s athletics and social achievement. “Running is about changing lives,” Switzer says. “Most of us feel significant or powerful through running, and people who have never had a sense of it suddenly gain it. If we can connect as women, we might help others find the courage to better their lives.” Switzer is an Emmy award-winning TV commentator and has covered the Olympic Games, World and National Championships as well as hundreds of other events. She serves on the Board of Advisors at Syracuse University’s Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics.