Kathrine Switzer: The idea of running long distance was always considered, you know, very questionable for women because, you know, an arduous activity would mean that you're going to get big legs and grow a mustache and hair on your chest, and your uterus was going to fall out.
So I filled out the entry form. I sign my name with my initials. I sign K. V. Switzer. When I signed it that way, obviously, when the form went in, they couldn't tell it from a guys.
Announcer: The world's most famous foot race, even attracts a leggy lady, K. Switzer of Syracuse.
Kathrine Switzer: So there we were with my coach Arnie Briggs and my boyfriend, an All America Football player, Tom Miller. When other runners would come by, they would say, "Oh, it's a girl!" And they were so excited. And Arnie was saying, "Yup, I've trained her."
And all of a sudden, the flatbed truck is in front of us and I heard the photographer saying, "Slow down, slow down, slow down," and they were taking pictures of us. On this truck was the race directors. One of them was a feisty character by the name of Jack Semple. He just stopped the bus, jumped off, and ran after me. Suddenly, I turned and then he just grabbed me and screamed at me, "Get the hell out of my race and give me those numbers." And then, he started clawing at me, started trying to rip my numbers off. And I was so surprised. And he had the fiercest face of any guy I had ever seen and out of control really. I was terrified. And all of a sudden, my boyfriend, big Tom, gave Jack the most incredible cross-body block and sent Jack flying. And all of this happened in front of the press truck. The journalists got very aggressive. "What are you trying to prove? You know, are you a Suffragette? Are you a crusader?" Whatever that is, you know. I said, "What? I'm just trying to run."
They finally left, then it got very quiet. Snow is coming down, nobody is saying anything. And I turned to Arnie and I said, "Arnie, you know, I've gotten you into a lot of mess here, I guess." And I said, "I don't know where you stand in this." But I said, "I'm going to finish this race on my hands and my knees if I have to because nobody believes that I can do this." And suddenly I realized, you know, "If I don't finish this race, then everybody's going to believe women can't do it and that they don't deserve to be here and that they're incapable. I've got to finish this race."
I finished in 4 hours 20 minutes. That race changed my life. It wasn't until about midnight when we were driving back from Boston to Syracuse University and we stopped on the throughway to get an ice cream and some coffee did we see the newspapers and the covered front and back of all the different editions with the pictures. I realized that now, this was very, very important. And this was going to change my life. And it was probably going to change women's sports.
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