Kathrine Switzer – Breaking Women’s Barriers for 50 Years!

Kathrine Switzer

Kathrine Switzer loved to run. And she loved challenges. So when her college coach told her that a woman could not finish a (26.2 mile) marathon, she set out to prove him wrong!

In 1967, Kathrine became the first woman ever to compete in the Boston Marathon. This was before the rules even allowed for women to run in the race! But Kathrine was able to obtain an official entry to the race.

In the middle of the Boston Marathon, the race director noticed her and was alarmed. The rules stated that women were not allowed to run in the race. So he ran after her, in the middle of the race, and tried to make her stop running. But a friend of hers stopped him from doing so! Kathrine went on to finish the race and become the first woman to ever complete a marathon!

Later, in 1972, the rules were finally changed to allow women to run in the Boston Marathon.

Kathrine went on to participate in more races and even won the New York City Marathon a few years later. She also helped make the Women’s Marathon an official Olympic sport!

But it was her courage and perseverance in completing the first marathon, in Boston, that has made her a role model for women around the world.  Check out more about her very inspiring story, thanks to SC Featured:

Additional Resources:

Topics for Discussion:

  • Why did Kathrine do what she did? What impact did it have on the world?
  • Do you know anyone who has shown great courage? How so?  What impact did it have on others?

Take Action:

  • Learn more about running and get involved with Girls on the Run which helps girls around the USA learn to run
  • Ask Kathrine a question about her life and impact here

Teacher Features:

  • Here is a link to a Critical Reading Skills worksheet that you can use for elementary school students.
  • Here is a link to a Critical Reading Skills worksheet that you can use for middle school students.

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