Geoffrey Kirui made his move with 4 miles left in the Boston Marathon and it paid off for the 24-year-old Kenyan, who took the men’s title with a time of 2 hours, 9 minutes and 36 seconds. When she was discovered, after the marathon had already started, the race director tried to rip her bib numbers off her back.
Switzer was a 20-year-old student at Syracuse when she entered the men-only Boston Marathon in 1967, using her initials on the registration form. A race official tried to push her off the course, tearing a corner from her bib.
The retired Marine ran a marathon in Washington, DC in 2015, as well as last year’s Boston Marathon.
His response: “No dame ever ran no marathon”.
As Switzer embraced her destiny for her 50th anniversary race, she focused on starting healthy and finishing strong.
“Her whole goal now is – and this is so cool – to keep promoting girls and women’s running and keep this all going”, Tews said. “He was like an evangelist and helped me sign up”. “…nor was there anything indicating gender on the entry form”.
“I was pretty anxious about grabbing the [water] bottles because I’ve never done that before. I wrote 2-6-1 on my arm and the crowds cheered me on that day”, said Carlson.
“But am I bold? People who couldn’t be out there and running for them”, said Carlson. “I ask for forgiveness”.
Fans crowded the brief ceremony, hugging and posing afterward for pictures with Switzer, a women’s running pioneer. The race also marked the return of a marathon legend.
“The higher reason now is not to prove that women can do it”, Switzer said.
Tews said she had a chance to meet Switzer in person over the weekend at a symposium where Switzer was the guest speaker.
“She always calls me Paula…” “It wasn’t until Jock Semple attacked me did everything change”.
There was no apparent restriction on a woman’s participation in the marathon.
Still, despite proof that women could clearly complete marathons, the athletic world generally assumed that women “couldn’t run and didn’t want to run” that far, Switzer says. “Even though this is going to be hard, I’m the luckiest woman in the world to be here, surrounded by 261 Fearless friends and supporters”.