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Marathon Woman: Running the Race to Revolutionize Women's Sports

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Katherine Switzer ran the Boston Marathon in 1967 where she was attacked by one of the event's directors who wanted to eject her from the all-male race. She fought off the director and finished the race. From the childhood events that inspired her to winning the New York City Marathon in 1974, this liberally illustrated book details the struggles and achievements of a Katherine Switzer ran the Boston Marathon in 1967 where she was attacked by one of the event's directors who wanted to eject her from the all-male race. She fought off the director and finished the race. From the childhood events that inspired her to winning the New York City Marathon in 1974, this liberally illustrated book details the struggles and achievements of a pioneering women in sports.


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Katherine Switzer ran the Boston Marathon in 1967 where she was attacked by one of the event's directors who wanted to eject her from the all-male race. She fought off the director and finished the race. From the childhood events that inspired her to winning the New York City Marathon in 1974, this liberally illustrated book details the struggles and achievements of a Katherine Switzer ran the Boston Marathon in 1967 where she was attacked by one of the event's directors who wanted to eject her from the all-male race. She fought off the director and finished the race. From the childhood events that inspired her to winning the New York City Marathon in 1974, this liberally illustrated book details the struggles and achievements of a pioneering women in sports.

30 review for Marathon Woman: Running the Race to Revolutionize Women's Sports

  1. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    I’m spoiled. I began running when I was a teenager, and have always taken it for granted as there for me when I need to relieve stress, boost my self-esteem (any day can be a good day if you got a great run in!), burn calories, get some quiet, get some fresh air, think, etc. I get frustrated at the occasional sexism obstacles I encounter in the MMA world – but after reading Marathon Woman I’m painfully aware of how minuscule these problems are. It was shocking, inspiring, empowering, and I’m spoiled. I began running when I was a teenager, and have always taken it for granted as there for me when I need to relieve stress, boost my self-esteem (any day can be a good day if you got a great run in!), burn calories, get some quiet, get some fresh air, think, etc. I get frustrated at the occasional sexism obstacles I encounter in the MMA world – but after reading Marathon Woman I’m painfully aware of how minuscule these problems are. It was shocking, inspiring, empowering, and humiliating to learn that only a few decades ago women were told that distance running would make their uteruses fall out, and that the first woman to officially run the Boston Marathon was assaulted by a race official (in 1967!!). I hadn’t even realized that women didn’t have a marathon event in the Olympics until 1984. This book should be on the reading list of every young woman. While I found the best part to be how a handful of women changed the world for countless women to come, it was also hard to put down because it’s love story – it’s the tale of how Kathrine Switzer fell in love with running, built a career, and found happiness. I found a lot of inspiration in this book – to run, to pursue my passions, to stand up for myself, and to do my part for women everywhere by living up to my potential. It’s horrendous and sad how many women have stood against the progress of women’s rights, and how many still do (because of their religions? jealousy? fear?). Ladies – we need to support each other and keep showing the world what we can do!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Nita

    Wow! This was an unexpected page-turner. Kathrine Switzer was the second woman to run the Boston Marathon. In 1967, she checked the rules and found nothing explicitly preventing a woman from running, but, just in case, she signed up as K.V. Switzer. At mile-four a race official ran onto the course and tried to drag her off. Her boyfriend at the time shoved the offical aside and Switzer and her running friends took off. A photographer captured the incident. Switzer finished the race. The photos Wow! This was an unexpected page-turner. Kathrine Switzer was the second woman to run the Boston Marathon. In 1967, she checked the rules and found nothing explicitly preventing a woman from running, but, just in case, she signed up as K.V. Switzer. At mile-four a race official ran onto the course and tried to drag her off. Her boyfriend at the time shoved the offical aside and Switzer and her running friends took off. A photographer captured the incident. Switzer finished the race. The photos landed on the cover of many newspapers, and transformed her into an accidental beacon of women's rights. The book tells this and many other stories in her quest to bring the women's marathon to the Olympic games including the time she spent in Munich during the violence-marred Olympics. This book served as an excellent reminder that many of the rights we women enjoy came from the untiring efforts of women like Switzer. It's a well-written, enjoyable ride.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Amy Moritz

    Despite being a sports writer, I don't have a lot of patience for sports books. This is one of the exceptions. Switzer was one of the first women to run in the then-all male Boston Marathon. She is a writer who became an athlete and running advocate (not a jock who became a writer) so her story telling is interesting and compelling. She throws in enough aspects of her personal life to make you sympathetic to her story but with just enough detail to keep it from being a tell-all. You have to be Despite being a sports writer, I don't have a lot of patience for sports books. This is one of the exceptions. Switzer was one of the first women to run in the then-all male Boston Marathon. She is a writer who became an athlete and running advocate (not a jock who became a writer) so her story telling is interesting and compelling. She throws in enough aspects of her personal life to make you sympathetic to her story but with just enough detail to keep it from being a tell-all. You have to be interested in running or sports to be interested in this book but her story is truly inspiring.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kathy Simpson

    Marathoning had always been a sport for men until Kathrine Switzer. In Marathon Woman, she details the challenges she faced while trying to popularize the woman's marathon. Switzer's passion for running exceeds her drive to support woman's running, and through this book she is able to illustrate just how important running has been in her life. She tells an honest and hilarious story of how she was able to get her foot into the door of running, and spread the woman's marathon throughout the Marathoning had always been a sport for men until Kathrine Switzer. In Marathon Woman, she details the challenges she faced while trying to popularize the woman's marathon. Switzer's passion for running exceeds her drive to support woman's running, and through this book she is able to illustrate just how important running has been in her life. She tells an honest and hilarious story of how she was able to get her foot into the door of running, and spread the woman's marathon throughout the world. This is one of the best running books I have read. I am completely in awe of Switzer and inspired to step up to the challenges of my own life.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Elyse

    This is Kathrine Switzer's memoir of her running career and her quest to make the women's marathon an Olympic event. She frankly admits she never considered herself a gifted runner. She just liked it and through vigorous training became an elite runner. She's the first woman who officially ran the Boston Marathon in 1967. Women had been running the marathon distance (26.2 miles) since the 1930's but had to jump out of the bushes at the start of the race. Kathrine didn't see a "men only" This is Kathrine Switzer's memoir of her running career and her quest to make the women's marathon an Olympic event. She frankly admits she never considered herself a gifted runner. She just liked it and through vigorous training became an elite runner. She's the first woman who officially ran the Boston Marathon in 1967. Women had been running the marathon distance (26.2 miles) since the 1930's but had to jump out of the bushes at the start of the race. Kathrine didn't see a "men only" statement on the Boston Marathon application. It didn't say anything about gender at all. So she signed up as K.V. Switzer to avoid drawing attention to herself. During the race the Boston Marathon director tried to tear off her number but she ran around him. It helped that her boyfriend, a hammer thrower, body checked the official out of the way. Afterwards Katherine worked to make the marathon a women's Olympic sport. It was a struggle. The first Women's Marathon wasn't run until the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. Kathrine is just a little older than me and I understand her upbringing during the 60's and 70's. She is feisty, pretty, and very feminine. She didn't mind a little "cheesecake" for the photographers when she was still racing. She wanted to assure potential women runners that they wouldn't grow a mustache or have their uterus fall out which was actually a fear this late in the 20th century. She is on her third husband and is very open in this memoir what was wrong with the first two. Her prose isn't very polished but it's not bad. Very, very entertaining.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Cynthia

    The author's tone, below average writing skills, and generalized disparaging remarks about women made me take a break from this book. I'll just give a review while I am still on p. 236: This woman was a revolutionary in women's sports. I admire her for it AND others like her. She writes, at times, like she was the only woman who trained and ran like she did. She presents evidence to the contrary, but she continues throughout much of the book to paint a picture of herself as a lone ranger. I tired The author's tone, below average writing skills, and generalized disparaging remarks about women made me take a break from this book. I'll just give a review while I am still on p. 236: This woman was a revolutionary in women's sports. I admire her for it AND others like her. She writes, at times, like she was the only woman who trained and ran like she did. She presents evidence to the contrary, but she continues throughout much of the book to paint a picture of herself as a lone ranger. I tired of finding annoying passages that were fairly denigrating to other women. Additionally, her descriptions of romantic relationships read like adolescent tirades. That said, the story is still worthwhile. We gave this book as a birthday gift to our sister-in-law. She is a marathoner, triathlete, and will soon be training for the Ironman. I thank all women who paved the way for female athletes.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Emilie

    Sadly, this was so poorly written, it was hard to follow at some points. Switzer really needed a good editor. I'm not entirely sure what her point was in this book either. Was it to brag about her own running journey (she does a lot of that)? Describe the path to the women's Olympic marathon (if so, she took a roundabout route for that)? Tell her life story (maybe)? Ultimately, it was disappointing.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Dawn

    I was expecting this to be the story of how and why Kathrine Switzer ran the Boston Marathon in 1967 and the fallout from being the first woman to do so "officially." What I was not expecting was that was just the beginning of the story. Switzer was a key figure in getting women's distance running (and specifically marathoning) accepted by The Powers That Be, and *that's* the story she tells in this book. Highly recommended.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Ari Scott

    What a fun read. Kathrine Switzer is one of my heroes. She has an incredible memory, as her breathtaking race recaps from decades ago are more detailed than anything I can tell you about my run from this morning. It was also interesting to read about the ins and outs of race organization. And I’ll admit, her continuous use of “golly” and “gee” was corny at first, but quickly became endearing. By golly, I enjoyed this book.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Lynn

    “I could tell that feminism had arrived, at last, at Wellesley. For when the women saw me the cheers became screams and wails and even some aggressive shouts of ‘Come on, sister! Do it! Do it! DO IT!” I take for granted that I’ve had these words of encouragement ringing in my ears since birth. I thought reading this book while training for my 4th and 5th marathons would be a good way to get through the upcoming week of monster millage, and I was not wrong. While not particularly well written, “I could tell that feminism had arrived, at last, at Wellesley. For when the women saw me the cheers became screams and wails and even some aggressive shouts of ‘Come on, sister! Do it! Do it! DO IT!” I take for granted that I’ve had these words of encouragement ringing in my ears since birth. I thought reading this book while training for my 4th and 5th marathons would be a good way to get through the upcoming week of monster millage, and I was not wrong. While not particularly well written, Kathryn Switzer’s memoir about her first marathon and her fight to bring the women’s marathon to the Olympics was eye opening and endearing. It’s important to remember that this book is her reflection on personal events. Being an ardent feminist I found it frustrating, at points, that she felt the need to constantly state that her desire to run Boston was not a political statement, that she took pains to look “cute” during athletic endeavors, that she was cowed by so many of the men in her life, that she seemed so oblivious to the contentious time in which she was living. It’s in those terms that I regard this book as an unpretentious memoir, written by an accidental hero. I feel lucky that over time Switzer discovered how her personal choice, to run Boston, became a political statement for women all over the world and helped change perceptions on women’s abilities, physical and otherwise. 2.5 stars, really. C'mon, Goodreads! Can we get some half starts already?

  11. 4 out of 5

    Diana

    An entertaining way to learn about feminism, running, and life in the 1960's-70's overall. It made me grateful for the opportunities I have, and made me want to start running again! It showed me how progress occurs, which felt particularly important right now as the world is going through a lot of difficult issues that we desperately need to make progress on. Most of all, this book reminded me that no person is perfect. While on the outside Kathrine Switzer's life seemed successful and grand, An entertaining way to learn about feminism, running, and life in the 1960's-70's overall. It made me grateful for the opportunities I have, and made me want to start running again! It showed me how progress occurs, which felt particularly important right now as the world is going through a lot of difficult issues that we desperately need to make progress on. Most of all, this book reminded me that no person is perfect. While on the outside Kathrine Switzer's life seemed successful and grand, she was also dealing with a lot of personal storms. The author does have a somewhat condescending tone as she talks about women who didn't run and how hard she worked to be independent despite the laziness of her ex-husbands, etc., and there were a surprising number of typos. Still, it was interesting to take a peek at a life and time so different from mine, made similar through our interests in feminism and running.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kirstin

    I've been inspired by the infamous photos of K. Switzer and Jock Semple for ages and I enjoyed reading the story that led up to, and unfolded after, that event. If you're a runner, or a woman, you'll enjoy it. It was interesting to read about the evolution of the marathon from a time when races were small affairs where most people knew each other to the later years of corporate sponsorship and promotion, and beyond.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jo

    such a long way women have come in the last 40 years - sad to know we still have a long way to go -- Not in the running arena (according to Kathrine) but in many aspects of this society. Good to know that our daughters are reading of the activities of those of our generation and the struggles to get to the freedom our daughters enjoy today.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    Absolutely LOVED this book. Loved learning about the start of women's running, both with Kathrine's own story and those of other women in the 70s. Such and interesting time and topic. Absolutely loved it.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Leigh

    3.5 stars. Switzer is a decent writer and the story is an interesting one, but you have to be really, really interested in women's running to make it through 400 pages...

  16. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    I loved this...it inspired me so much (I ended up running my first marathon a year or so after reading it).

  17. 4 out of 5

    Mazy

    Amazing, inspiring, emotional. This is a must read for runners, especially those tackling the marathon.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Alana

    I so often forget what a privileged era I live in, and all the work that had gone on before me so that I can appreciate the advantages that I have. It blows my mind that women were not allowed to complete in many things in the past, including marathons, many times for no other reason than fear that their "fragile bodies" would be damaged, or that they wouldn't be able to reproduce (seriously, a genuine fear was of causing the uterus to detach!), as if that's a woman's only value in life. While I so often forget what a privileged era I live in, and all the work that had gone on before me so that I can appreciate the advantages that I have. It blows my mind that women were not allowed to complete in many things in the past, including marathons, many times for no other reason than fear that their "fragile bodies" would be damaged, or that they wouldn't be able to reproduce (seriously, a genuine fear was of causing the uterus to detach!), as if that's a woman's only value in life. While Switzer wasn't the first woman to ever run the Boston Marathon, she was the first to do so having registered and with a number, and the controversy surrounding her running sparked a decades-long battle to bring women's athletics, not just in running, to the place they are today, where we can celebrate marathons, swimming, track events, skiing... the myriad of things that women weren't allowed to do in the Olympics and otherwise in the past. It's an amazing story, not only of Switzer's efforts but those of many women and men around her. I loved the many times she shared the camaraderie among runners, and the ready acceptance she experienced from the men with whom she trained and competed. She has a high regard for the men who accepted her as a runner, not just seeing her as a woman, and respected the incredibly hard work it takes to even FINISH a race like that, let alone compete to win and set records (though Switzer wasn't really even the best in her field, as she readily admits). I loved her stories of being inspired by others and providing inspiration to the next generation, not feeling upset when the next generation takes their place at center stage, but celebrating a whole new era of men and women who are bringing even more to their sport. There are a couple of sections near the end where some of the stats get a little tedious, but for the most part, it's a very enjoyable, educational read.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Hannah Lynch

    I absolutely loved this book!! Hearing about the start of women’s marathon running while training for a marathon myself is so motivational and inspiring! Kathrine Switzer is a phenomenal story teller as she recounts her experiences in a witty and enjoyable way. I listened to this book mostly on audiobook which I highly recommend as Kathrine herself narrates it, but I also recommend getting the physical book to look at all the photos included! 5 Stars, a must read for all women runners and I absolutely loved this book!! Hearing about the start of women’s marathon running while training for a marathon myself is so motivational and inspiring! Kathrine Switzer is a phenomenal story teller as she recounts her experiences in a witty and enjoyable way. I listened to this book mostly on audiobook which I highly recommend as Kathrine herself narrates it, but I also recommend getting the physical book to look at all the photos included! 5 Stars, a must read for all women runners and athletes!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Sandy

    Kathrine Switzer has accomplished amazing feats as both a female long distance runner and promoter of the women’s marathon in the Olympics. As a woman long distance runner, I truly WANTED to enjoy this book. I actually love learning about running and thought reading more history about women in the sport would be engrossing. This book was written in 26.2 chapters, but I’m fairly certain it would’ve been a better 10 chapter one. I knew I had to skim the rest, when I read, “Just the word ‘April’ Kathrine Switzer has accomplished amazing feats as both a female long distance runner and promoter of the women’s marathon in the Olympics. As a woman long distance runner, I truly WANTED to enjoy this book. I actually love learning about running and thought reading more history about women in the sport would be engrossing. This book was written in 26.2 chapters, but I’m fairly certain it would’ve been a better 10 chapter one. I knew I had to skim the rest, when I read, “Just the word ‘April’ made my buttocks tingle with nervousness.” (Page 244) This writing was painful to read.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kenzie

    All women runners need to read this book! Whether you run 5k’s, half marathons, or full marathons you should know the journey that it took for women to be welcomed at these events! Big thanks to Katherine and all of the other women mentioned in her book for paving the way!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kecia

    When I ran the Boston Marathon I knew the legends of the women who had come before me. I knew I knew I was running on hallowed ground. I knew the story of the story of Kathrine Switzer registering to run using her first initial. I knew the story of Jock Semple trying to push her off the course because she was a woman. But Switzer's story stopped there for me. I did not know what happened beyond the finish line. Switzer's memoir is as much the history of women's distance running as it is her own When I ran the Boston Marathon I knew the legends of the women who had come before me. I knew I knew I was running on hallowed ground. I knew the story of the story of Kathrine Switzer registering to run using her first initial. I knew the story of Jock Semple trying to push her off the course because she was a woman. But Switzer's story stopped there for me. I did not know what happened beyond the finish line. Switzer's memoir is as much the history of women's distance running as it is her own personal story. It's an easy and entertaining read that renewed enthusiasm for running. Kathrine Switzer is more than simply a mythic figure. She has been a force in women's distance running. I came away from this memoir in awe of her accomplishments. When I was a child my dad was a runner. Thanksgiving at our house meant bundling up before dawn to go to The Dallas Turkey Trot and watch Dad run. My parents treated the few women runners there as something odd, something not quite female. I was taught to believe all the myths about women and running. I have a firsthand understanding of the barriers that Kathrine had to break down. Then one day I ran. It wasn't very fast and it wasn't very far, but I ran. (And what do you know, my uterus didn't fall out!) At the time I was living with a man who resembled Kathrine's first husband Tom. Reading her story made me cringe because I knew Tom all too well. I'll never forget the time my boyfriend told me he couldn't run a 5K with me because he was a 10K runner. Whatever! As it turned out, it was the confidence I gained through running that gave me the courage to leave that relationship and never look back. Today it's hard to image a time when the entry fee to Boston was $3.00! It's hard to imagine race courses without mile markers, without port-a-johns, without water stations, without finisher medals, without women. All runners, men and women, who have made the journey, or dream of making the journey, from Hopkinton to Boylston Street owe a huge debt of gratitude to Kathrine Switzer. Switzer changed the face of running and it's a better sport for her efforts!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Cindy Dyson Eitelman

    This is one tough woman! And a good memoir writer, too. She wasn't afraid to talk of "women things" like periods or tears, either. Describing the 1971 Boston Marathon: The women at Wellesley at last were all I had hoped for, and more. In 1967 they were nonexistent, and in 1970, also a cold and miserable rain, they were scarce. Today they were out in force and went absolutely crazy when they saw me. For the first time, I felt the noise of their screaming bounce off my chest; the only time I'd felt This is one tough woman! And a good memoir writer, too. She wasn't afraid to talk of "women things" like periods or tears, either. Describing the 1971 Boston Marathon: The women at Wellesley at last were all I had hoped for, and more. In 1967 they were nonexistent, and in 1970, also a cold and miserable rain, they were scarce. Today they were out in force and went absolutely crazy when they saw me. For the first time, I felt the noise of their screaming bounce off my chest; the only time I'd felt that before was when I was a kid at a parade and felt the concussion of the big drums in the marching band. I was always proud of being a woman and I was proud enough of my running to need little outside affirmation, but the cheers of the Wellesley women made up for a lot of dark training nights. I felt my eyes sting with tears; I knew the cheers would sustain me for months. Kathrine Switzer is, of course, famous as the woman who gate-crashed the 1967 all-male Boston Marathon, causing one of the race directors to attempt to forcibly eject her. She finished the race, too. But I found out there were other women there and there had been others in previous races, and some of them also finished. The difference is, they didn't wear a number. She went on to win the 1974 New York City marathon with 3:07:59 and to chase the 3-minute mark with all her might. She caught it--doing a 2:51:37 at Boston in 1975. But soon her life filled up with organization and promotion; her hard training days were over but it seems her life had just begun. So in addition to being a memoir, this is Ms. Switzer's tribute to all the women runners who paved the way. She helped them immensely--she helped organize and promote so many marathons, mini-marathons that I fail to remember them all other than to mention a few--The New York marathon, the Crazylegs mini-marathon, the Avon races, what else? As you've no doubt guessed, I enjoyed this a lot. If you aren't interested in running, it might bore you--a little. Only a little. Give it a shot and let me know.

  24. 4 out of 5

    D

    i loved getting switzer's full, gossipy, lively story. she's got a way with narrative, and i was surprised and delighted when she didn't withhold details that really brought the story to life. at one point, she very dryly, "what? there's nothing to see here. i'm not implying anything"-ly mentions -- it's totally off-hand! -- that the man who became her first ex-husband had very, very tiny feet. i guffaw-laughed. and she slipped this in without sounding bitter and catty throughout the rest of the i loved getting switzer's full, gossipy, lively story. she's got a way with narrative, and i was surprised and delighted when she didn't withhold details that really brought the story to life. at one point, she very dryly, "what? there's nothing to see here. i'm not implying anything"-ly mentions -- it's totally off-hand! -- that the man who became her first ex-husband had very, very tiny feet. i guffaw-laughed. and she slipped this in without sounding bitter and catty throughout the rest of the book, either. she did an excellent job psychologically situating herself as a young girl in the fifties and sixties and what that meant for her choices to be an athlete, why she pushed for opportunities to participate in sports, and how that morphed into a lifelong quest to fight for women's opportunities. she wasn't naturally a radical; but the vitriol she was subjected to when she simply wanted to be active was stunning and MADE her a radical. this is a very readable, engaging book, and it tells an incredibly important part of the story of women. personally, i just inhaled the portions where she talks about the insane training she subjected herself to in order to become a world-class marathoner. switzer holds that she is not a particularly gifted athlete naturally and that the best of her accomplishments (winning the new york marathon, achieving a sub-3 marathon in a day when you could count on one hand the number of women in the world capable of doing same) were achieved through grit and LOTS and lots of hard work, workouts built on workouts over many years. i find this so, so, SO inspirational. what can any of us do if we only try?

  25. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    This book was unexpectedly very good! I usually have a hard time getting through autobiographies but was not the case with this one. Kathrine Switzer is famous for her 1967 running of the Boston Marathon with the bib "261" using her initials "K.V." to register for what had up to then been an all-male race...forever changing running, women in running, women in sports, and so on. I guess I hadn't realized how women were basically not welcome in sports until the mid-1970s. The women's Olympic This book was unexpectedly very good! I usually have a hard time getting through autobiographies but was not the case with this one. Kathrine Switzer is famous for her 1967 running of the Boston Marathon with the bib "261" using her initials "K.V." to register for what had up to then been an all-male race...forever changing running, women in running, women in sports, and so on. I guess I hadn't realized how women were basically not welcome in sports until the mid-1970s. The women's Olympic Marathon wasn't even in existence until 1984! And this was largely the effort of Switzer, who remains active in women's running (broadcasting, often for the Boston Marathon!). The common thinking was that running anything over 2 miles would cause women to become obese and not be able to have children and so on...crazy to even think about! I hadn't realized all that Switzer had done for women in running and women in general. I was amazed by her determination (and actually liked her writing too!) throughout the book - I feel inspired! Was especially interesting to see how times progressed (Switzer's 1967 Boston was over 4:10, she eventually ran a 2:53 I believe...she won the 1974 NYC Marathon [when it still did Central Park loops]). Cool to see how small the running community is/how tightly knit is...she discussed Higdon, Fred Lebow (started NYC Marathon...Fred's Team!), Bill Rodgers, Pre, so many more). Highly recommend this book to runners and those that want to become inspired by a great woman!!!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Lee

    This book had been on my "to-read" list so imagine my delight when I found out Kathrine Switzer was going to be the keynote speaker the night before the inaugural Bellin Women's Half Marathon in Green Bay. She was an entertaining speaker and very approachable for book signings and also pre-race, where she mingled among all the runners. I started running in the late 1970's and at that time had no idea that just a decade prior women were not even allowed to run marathons because of (among other This book had been on my "to-read" list so imagine my delight when I found out Kathrine Switzer was going to be the keynote speaker the night before the inaugural Bellin Women's Half Marathon in Green Bay. She was an entertaining speaker and very approachable for book signings and also pre-race, where she mingled among all the runners. I started running in the late 1970's and at that time had no idea that just a decade prior women were not even allowed to run marathons because of (among other reasons) that it would be harmful to their health! And health reasons and stress relief are the primary reasons that I run! This book was a very detailed memoir of Kathrine's experience running her first Boston marathon in 1967 where the race director tried to forcibly remove her from the race and the battles she waged over the years to gain acceptance of women's running (mostly marathons, but running in general). I found I would read a chapter or two, put it down, and pick it up again between books so while it held my interest, it was not a page turner (although she did tell a group of us that there were a few "steamy" scenes in the book!) After meeting her and reading her book, I am very grateful for the road she paved for me and many other women (pun intended!) - I took my running for granted but am now grateful for what Kathrine and others have done to make this possible. If you are a runner, particularly a female runner, I recommend this book.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Tina

    As a runner who is going to be doing her first full marathon next January I really wanted to read Switzer's story since she is the reason women can register for and participate in races. Believe it or not there was a time when it was considered "dangerous" for women to run. They were told it might make them sterile or their organs might fall out. Switzer ignored this nonsense and was the first woman to officially register for and run the Boston Marathon as a numbered runner with a bib in 1967 As a runner who is going to be doing her first full marathon next January I really wanted to read Switzer's story since she is the reason women can register for and participate in races. Believe it or not there was a time when it was considered "dangerous" for women to run. They were told it might make them sterile or their organs might fall out. Switzer ignored this nonsense and was the first woman to officially register for and run the Boston Marathon as a numbered runner with a bib in 1967 (Roberta Gibb was the first woman to run it unofficially, she sneaked in the year prior). She continued running marathons for several years following and her contribution to the world of running allowed for more and more races open to women over the years until women's running simply became the norm. Her story also definitely made me appreciate the things we now have that simply weren't around in the early days: chip timing, clearly marked safe race courses, aid stations (in Switzer's day if you wanted water stations you had to ask your friends to be your race crew), comfortable running clothes and shoes (I'm so thankful for tech shirts and actual running shoes), watches and apps that track your mileage for you. Thanks Kathrine for starting a movement that has changed the world of running for the better.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Elise Smith

    Kathrine Switzer has obviously done a lot for women's running, running in general, and women's sports in general. She talks about her "idea box" where she would put ideas that she would randomly have about running and racing. So many of her ideas are staples at road races around the world today (medals for every finisher, fashionable t-shirts, water stops!, etc....Pretty much all of the reasons why I LOVE race day). She undoubtedly had a hand in so much! It was strange to read a book with SO Kathrine Switzer has obviously done a lot for women's running, running in general, and women's sports in general. She talks about her "idea box" where she would put ideas that she would randomly have about running and racing. So many of her ideas are staples at road races around the world today (medals for every finisher, fashionable t-shirts, water stops!, etc....Pretty much all of the reasons why I LOVE race day). She undoubtedly had a hand in so much! It was strange to read a book with SO MANY typos (not just talking grammar errors here, people). I mean, did this book have an editor? Her writing gets pretty convoluted at times and it's hard to pay attention, especially during the final third of the book where she no longer discusses her running career, but her life as a race facilitator and her quest to get the women's marathon in the 1984 Olympics. I'm not sure that an editor even read the last two chapters where she flies from city to city in one and then commentates the first women's Olympic marathon in the other (written as if she is commentating at the time because it is in present tense and refers to an "earpiece"). Other than the deficiencies in actual writing, her story is very interesting and important. I was also amused by the fact that her book has exactly 26 chapter and then a little appendices that she entitles Chapter 26.2. Very cute.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    I picked this book up because Kathrine is going to be the spokeswoman for a race I'm running this spring- nice to get an autograph for a book, right? I knew little of her history other than she is the subject of the iconic 1967 photo of the Boston Marathon runner being accosted by the race director to get out of the race- because she is a woman! who was running! Before I read this book I had no idea that during my lifetime not only was the women's marathon not an Olympic event, women were not I picked this book up because Kathrine is going to be the spokeswoman for a race I'm running this spring- nice to get an autograph for a book, right? I knew little of her history other than she is the subject of the iconic 1967 photo of the Boston Marathon runner being accosted by the race director to get out of the race- because she is a woman! who was running! Before I read this book I had no idea that during my lifetime not only was the women's marathon not an Olympic event, women were not allowed to run races of more than 800m for fear of danger to our 'frail reproductive organs'. Girls were not afforded the same physical education and team sport opportunities as boys until Title IX came along, and even afterwards, there were ridculous rules- for example, in girls basketball there were no jump balls because of the chance that our uterus would fall out or be damaged- from JUMPING!! I now have a whole new appreciation for what it took for my mother back in the day to make sure that my sisters and I were all involved in some type of sport as kids. Because of Kathrine's passion for, and talent for, running, women across the world were empowered to get out there and do what they want to do- whether in running or other areas of life. Ms. Switzer is a wonderful ambassdor for sport, and an inspiring example of true sportsmanship and grace.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Marissa

    The first half of the book was awesome. I loved reading about Kathrine's training progression and being able to relate to a lot of her mental and physical obstacles. I of course couldn't relate to the stereotype that she faced back in the 60's that "women can't run marathons....their uterus might fall out!" LOL. Can you believe people believed such a thing. I was fairly familiar with the images of her at Boston in 1967- the race director tried to physically pull her out of the race, but I didn't The first half of the book was awesome. I loved reading about Kathrine's training progression and being able to relate to a lot of her mental and physical obstacles. I of course couldn't relate to the stereotype that she faced back in the 60's that "women can't run marathons....their uterus might fall out!" LOL. Can you believe people believed such a thing. I was fairly familiar with the images of her at Boston in 1967- the race director tried to physically pull her out of the race, but I didn't know the story behind the image. I also didn't know that #261 had such a big role in the NYC Marathon upon it's inception. By the second half of the book I unfortunately did find myself getting bored. There was a lot of narrative describing how certain races were set up and what obstacles they faced as far as advertising, paying runner etc but I felt it droned on a little. Overall an inspiring book for woman. It makes you really thankful that Kathrine faced so much criticsm back in the day and didn't let it break her. Because of her strength and determination running has no prejudice and women are welcome to run long distance races all over the world.

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