Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Book Review: "Marathon Woman"

Kathrine Switzer started running before running was something that women did. With support from her military father and mother, who was well respected in her field, Kathrine started by running laps around the family property till she hit a mile. Her athletic career began with field hockey where she quickly became a standout and running was her 'secret weapon.' She played hockey at Lynchburg College but was less than impressed by the level of athleticism among the women who seemed more interested in having tea than playing the game. It was when she transferred to Syracuse University that she started running more seriously.

Soon, Switzer was running through sleet, snow, and heat with one goal in mind: to run the Boston Marathon. She was determined. She did everything she could to reach that goal.

Kathrine Switzer was the first woman to officially register and run the Boston Marathon in 1967. The story is legendary and truthfully, was all I knew about her when I started reading her biography, Marathon Woman. What I learned though, is that she is much, much more than just that one marathon. If not for Kathrine Switzer, who knows when the Olympic Committee would have introduced the women's marathon event. Switzer has done incredible things for women's running. Who knows if any of us women would be running today if not for her and her peers who were pioneers and ground breakers. 

While many male runners were happy to see these women among their ranks in races in Boston and New York, other men, and women, weren't as open to the change in cultural norms. For generations people believed that it was unsafe for women to run long distances, but Switzer, Sara Mae Berman, Nina Kuscsik, Miki Gorman and many other women proved them wrong.

With a degree in journalism and an MBA, a friendship with Fred Lebow and a drive to succeed and make a difference, Switzer was at the front of the pack when it came to corporate sponsorships for races and creating opportunities for women. She eventually landed a job with Avon and created the Avon International Marathon, which was the culmination of hundreds of local women's-only races on five continents. It was really incredible to learn about her non-stop life, creating huge, life changing events for women around the world. Hers is truly an inspirational story - both in terms of running and also sports promotions. What it would be like to work for her, or just to be in her company, I can't even imagine!

I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in running, women's sports, sports promotion, or inspirational stories. Hers truly is an incredible story.

For more information on Kathrine Switzer, click HERE

today's workout -
45min elliptical
2x50sec planks
100 crunches
lots of stretching


Anonymous said...

Sounds like a good read. I'm adding that to my amazon list.

Emz said...

I must get this book. I am not a reader but I am a runner so if I can read about running ----- oh this could be the fix I need. ;)

RunToTheFinish said...

i love to read so you know I was excited to see your review. I think the only reason I haven't gotten it was after reading the RW article awhile back it sort of turned me off

Zaneta @ Runner's Luck said...

sounds like an awesome book!! I'll have to put it on my list! :)

Gina; The Candid RD said...

What an inspiration!! Sounds like a great book to read for some true motivation. That's what we all need during these cold and dreary days.

The recipe in your last post sounds so good!! I may have to make that one Sunday morning for brunch.