Kathrine Switzer, Iconic Athlete, Activist and Author
To Speak at 50th Anniversary of George C. Marshall High School
Creator of Positive Social Change Was in First Graduating Class in 1964
August 27, 2012
This year, Kathrine Switzer’s been to celebratory events Prague, Berlin, Athens, Vienna, New Zealand, New York, and the London Olympics. And on November 9, she returns to George Marshall High School in Falls Church, VA, where much of it all began. Today, Marshall HS serves the cosmopolitan community of Tysons Corner.
Switzer has long been one of the most iconic figures in athletics and returns to her high school roots in one of sport’s most dynamic years. She will be the honorary speaker for the George C. Marshall High School’s 50th Anniversary Gala Celebration at the Fairview Park Marriott in Falls Church, VA on Friday, November 9, 2012.
The ticket prices are: $90.62 per person /$175.62 per couple (until September 7). Prices will increase on September 8th to $110.00 per person /$200 per couple. A silent auction will be featured at the event to raise money for specialty items and for the school which is now undergoing a $60 million renovation to provide the community with a 21st century facility. Six nominees will be inducted to the Marshall Hall of Fame. Tickets may be purchased online www.gcmptsa.org or at the school (Marlene Felder-room 100).
“This is a big year for sports - and we are so excited to have Kathrine Switzer, the person who made so much of our history happen, here with us to celebrate and tell us about it,” said Jay W. Pearson, principal of George C. Marshall HS.
“Mr. Pearson is so right,” confirmed Switzer. “This is a whopper of a year—it is the 40th anniversary of women being ‘allowed’ to run, of the first women’s road race, and in the USA, of the passage of the Title IX amendment to the Constitution, which mandated equality of educational opportunities for women-including sports. This totally changed the landscape for women, socially as well as sport-wise. And, of course, this is an Olympic year and more than ever, that history will be reflected in amazing performances. By the time I get to the Marshall anniversary celebration on Nov.9, we’ll have a whole new set of heroes to talk about.”
Kathrine Switzer was in the first class of graduates from Marshall in 1964. Three years later, she became the woman who changed sports history when she officially entered and finished the famous Boston Marathon in 1967. It was still a men’s only event in those days and Switzer’s entry created a worldwide uproar when the race director attacked her mid-stride and tried to remove her from the event. The photo of this incident flashed around the globe and became one of Time-Life’s “100 Photos that Changed the World.” Radicalized by the incident, Switzer campaigned to make women official in the Boston Marathon in 1972 and later that year was one of the creators of the first women’s road race…and the women’s running boom was on. This year is that 40th anniversary. It is one of several important anniversaries this year.
Switzer went on run 39 marathons, and won the New York City Marathon in 1974. She ran her personal best in 1975, finishing second in Boston (2:51:33). She then put her substantial energies into creating the Avon International Running Circuit of women’s only races in 27 countries with over a million women participating from 1978 to the present time. It was this series of events, which showed global participation and performances that largely convinced the IOC to include a women’s marathon for the first time in the 1984 Olympic Games.
Switzer is now an Emmy award-winning TV commentator and has covered the Olympic Games, World and National Championships as well as the New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles and every televised edition of the Boston Marathon (34 consecutive years!). She is a dynamic public speaker, journalist and author of three books, including her memoir, Marathon Woman. Other books include 26.2 Marathon Stories, co-authored with her husband, Roger Robinson and Running and Walking for Women Over 40.
At age 65, Switzer is still running marathons, having completed the Berlin Marathon in 2011 to launch the German edition of Marathon Woman. She also won her age group in the extremely difficult 2011 Motatapu off-road mountain marathon in New Zealand, and in 2010 fulfilled a lifetime dream of running the 2500th anniversary race of the Athens Marathon.
Last year, when she was inducted into the U.S.A. National Women’s Hall of Fame, it was not just for breaking barriers but also for creating positive global social change. Because of her, millions of women are now empowered by the simple act of running. Or as Kathrine says, “It’s not about running. It’s about changing people’s lives.”
For more information about Kathrine Switzer, please visit www.marathonwoman.com
Kathrine Switzer Career Highlights:
• Inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in October 2011 for creating positive global social change
• Winner, 1974 NYC Marathon
• Broke Gender Barrier at 1967 Boston Marathon
• Emmy Award-winning TV commentator
• Author, MARATHON WOMAN (DaCapo Press), Running and Walking for Women Over 40, the Road to Sanity and Vanity (St. Martin’s Press), co-author 26.2 Marathon Stories (Rodale Press)
• Founder, Avon Running Global Women’s Circuit
• Winner of Abebe Bikila Award for Global Contribution to Sport of Running from New York Road Runners
• First class of inductees into the National Distance Running Hall of Fame
• Named one of the Visionaries of the Century (2000) and a Hero of Running (2012), and Runner of the Decade (1966-76) by Runners World Magazine