Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Fearless and Free

A few years ago, my word of the year was Fearless.

That was the year I tried new things, I tried out trail running, I got muddy, nature touched me.  I took a flying leap out of my comfort zone and I'm better for it.

Fearless is still one of my favorite words.  I like to think I'm pretty fearless.  I'll try just about anything...unless it involves heights or spiders.

OK, so, I'm selectively fearless.

Let me tell you about a fearless woman whom I look up to: Katherine Switzer.

Photo from the Skirt Sports Website

For those of you who haven't read up on the history of running (horrors!), Katherine Switzer was the first woman to run the Boston Marathon in 1967.

Why is this important?  I'm glad you asked.

In 1967, The Boston Marathon was a men-only event; Katherine registered using her first and middle initials with her last name, showed up and started running.  When the race director, Jock Semple, found out that a woman was on the course, he found Katherine and tried to push her off the course (pictured above).  As you can see, another (male) runner helped to guard Katherine from the angry race director and she was able to finish the Boston Marathon.  Katherine considered stopping, afraid that the race director had been hurt and not wanting to "mess up" the prestigious Boston Marathon, but then she thought to herself, "If I quit, nobody would ever believe that women had the capability to run 26-plus miles. If I quit, everybody would say it was a publicity stunt. If I quit, it would set women’s sports back, way back, instead of forward. If I quit, I’d never run Boston. If I quit, Jock Semple and all those like him would win." (source)

Photo from the Skirt Sports Website
It wasn't until 5 years later that women were officially allowed to run the Boston Marathon.

Katherine paved the way for women, like myself and many of my friends, to be able to participate in marathon events today.

Thank you, Katherine.   Because of you, I have the freedom to be fearless.

In honor of her fearlessness, Skirt Sports developed a clothing line named 261 after Katherine's bib number in the 1967 Boston Marathon, dedicated to fearless women everywhere.

Skirt Sports is hosting a Virtual 261 Fearless Run on April 18.  If you're in the Boulder area, you can join an in-person run at 7am, or register to run virtually 2.61 or 26.1 miles. Race registration includes a Skirt Sport gift card and swag. (We love swag!)

How will you celebrate your freedom to run?  I think I'll run 2.61 miles over and over and see how far I get.

Disclaimer: Part of my job as a Skirt Sports Ambassador is to spread the news of awesome Skirt Sports happenings.  I am compensated for my time with Skirt Sports clothing at no or low cost.  All thoughts and opinions posted on this blog are my own.