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Trailblazing Runner to Visit SUNY Cortland

 Trailblazing Runner to Visit SUNY Cortland


If you can’t join them, outsmart them.

Kathrine Switzer, an internationally recognized pioneer for female runners and women in athletics, did just that.

The woman who smashed the all-male tradition at the Boston Marathon and became the first female to officially enter and run the exclusive race will speak at SUNY Cortland on Monday, Oct. 22.

Her hour-long talk, at 11:30 a.m. in Sperry Center, Room 105, is free and open to the public.

Switzer, 65, is probably best known for defying gender stereotypes at the 1967 Boston Marathon. Although she was not the first woman ever to complete the 26.2-mile race, she was the first to do so as a registered runner.

Competing as K. V. Switzer — a name that also served as her journalism byline while she was a student at Syracuse University — Switzer made headlines by running the race despite an attempt by its director to physically pull her out.

It was a monumental win for female runners, who five years later, in 1972, were invited officially to run the Boston Marathon, the crown jewel of long-distance road races.

The experience propelled Switzer to a career that generated many other opportunities for women in sports. Besides running competitively — she won the New York City Marathon in 1974 — Switzer found success in fields that included broadcasting, marketing and public speaking.

She founded the Avon International Running Circuit, a worldwide series sponsored by the cosmetics giant that brought races for women to dozens of countries. The program is credited with attracting more than a million participants and boosting acceptance of women’s sports in places where it had previously lagged.

The Avon series also paved the way for more women’s running events to be added to the Olympics, which included the women’s marathon in 1984.

As a television commentator, she has covered running events across the globe for many major networks. Switzer won an Emmy Award in 1997 for her work on the Los Angeles Marathon.

The author of three books, including her award-winning memoir Marathon Woman in 2007, Switzer has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs. They include “Oprah,” “The Today Show” and “Good Morning America.”

Runner’s World magazine named her its female runner of the decade for 1967 to 1977 and one of its four visionaries of the century.

In 2011, Switzer was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame.

Her talk at SUNY Cortland is sponsored by the College’s Sport Management Club and the Campus Artist and Lecture Series.

For more information, contact Mark Dodds, an associate professor of sport management, at (607) 753-4779.