It’s Been A Marathon


It’s the last Friday of the month again and that means it’s time for another installment of the We Are The World blogfest – that monthly post where I try to point out something positive in a world that sometimes seems to be going mad.

In truth, it’s usually best to focus on the good stuff rather than perseverate on the bad things, but a gentle reminder is sometimes a good thing.

Fifty years ago the Boston Marathon was a men-only event. It was felt that women were just far too delicate to handle the rigors of running a long distance. Hell, it was 1972 before women were officially allowed into it. But in 1967 Katherine Switzer signed up for the race as K.V. Switzer and ran it. She even had to endure race officials forcibly trying to remove her from the race as she was running it, but managed to finish it in 4 hours and 20 minutes.

So, on the one hand it sucks that she had to put up with crap like that, but on the other, she proved her point succinctly by not only finishing the race, but surviving to tell about it.

This year, at age 70, she entered it again and finished in 4 hours and 44 minutes.

For the record, my estimated time in the Boston Marathon can be measured in weeks.

The specter of sexism is still prevalent in our society, but at least it’s slowly eroding. Personally, I never got sexism. Why would you want to marginalize 51% of the population just because they happen to look better in dresses? Seriously, it’s ridiculous.

Nowadays, women regularly run the Boston Marathon, thanks in part to the sheer moxie of Katherine Switzer who not only was the first woman to run it, but who ran it again when she was 70.

The We Are The World Blogfest is a monthly collection of feel-good blog posts about whatever each blogger happens to think was a good thing. If you’d like to join up, you can leave a note in the comments or check out WATWB’s Facebook page for more information.

This month’s co-hosts are Simon Falk, Inderpreet Kaur Uppal, Mary J. Giese, Peter Nena and Belinda Witzenhausen.

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24 thoughts on “It’s Been A Marathon

  1. I saw a new piece on TV about Katherine running the marathon this year. I admire women like her who are willing to put themselves out there, go against the train, with such heart and determination. Good for her!

    • I admire anyone who can run that marathon at all, especially with some jerk trying to pull you out. Then to do it again at 70; damn, that’s hardcore. We need more people like her who are willing to put it on the line to fight bias.

  2. I see the Marathoners run past my house each year ( Mumbai Marathon) and admire the swift gazelle like movements of the runners but for those who have to huff and puff I wonder what they are trying to prove….I also find it just crazy that the whole city has to come to a standstill just to watch a few hundreds run????
    Of course I admire their spirit, their endurance and their determination but why does life always have to be about winning?

    • I guess some people just really love running. I’ve never cared for it myself, but I can certainly respect the dedication to do it at that level. I want to say there are something like 30000 entrants in the Boston Marathon and 97% of them finish. I’d make it maybe a few blocks before I hung it up.

  3. Hi Eric
    A 70-year old finishing such a gruelling race is an amazing accomplishment!
    Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    Here in South Africa, the Comrades Marathon, is an ultramarathon of approximately 89 km (approx. 56 miles) which is run annually in the KwaZulu-Natal Province of South Africa between the cities of Durban and Pietermaritzburg. It alternates between an up run (Durban to PMB) and down run, which is in the opposite direction. The race attracts runners from all over the world.
    In 2016, Sigrid Eichner, a 76-year-old German woman, was the oldest to run this race.

    To give you an idea of the calibre of the woman’s race: In 2016, the first female to cross the finishing line was a local woman. She completed the race in a time of 6:25:55 going at a speed of 4:20 minutes per kilometre.
    The men’s race is obviously different. The first male to cross the finishing line did so in a time of 5:18:19 at a speed of 3:35 min/km.

    • Wow! That is amazing! I’m always blown away by people who can run like that. The sheer amount of dedication it must take to get the point of being able to run a marathon must be staggering.

  4. Thanks for bringing this to light. A century or two ago women were not given voting rights. Thankfully they can vote now and take take up important roles in goverment. Come to think of it several countries are being headed by women. Newzealand, UK, India had Mrs Indira Gandhi as its head of state fro a long time and recently a woman has been appointed our defense minister. Way to go!!!

  5. Super impressive that she ran it in such a short time at 70! Hopefully this time, she drew positive attention instead of the pushing that she endured the first time. And thanks to her for showing that we are not as delicate as once thought 🙂 Thanks for sharing her story, Eric!

  6. Brilliant! I have so much admiration for the heroes in our society who are prepared to push the boundaries for the rest of us. And double admiration for her running it again now in almost the same time – I think my time would be closer to yours Eric lol

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