Bu Meghan Harvey
Earlier this week Boston Marathon history was made as thousands of athletes competed to display their competitive skill and to honor of those lost in last years tragedy. This week has been bitter sweet as we remember those that didn’t get to cross the finish line last year. But the highlight of the race was Rita Jeptoo, who claimed her third Boston Marathon women’s race win. Congrats Rita! Tatyana McFadden defended her women’s wheelchair title as well and deserves major props, as it’s also her sixth consecutive marathon win, having just she won in London just last week. Both these women are stellar athletes who’s victories beg us to learn about an honor sheheroes who run.
This week I registered for my 4th race. Not a marathon, just a local 5k. Over the last few years I’ve come to really love running. Granted, I’ve had periods of time when I’ve run more often than others but generally I’ve kept up with it. And the reason I have kept up with running has nothing to do with losing weight or looking good. While getting fit and enjoying all the good feelings that come with being healthy are great, the real reason I run is the freedom. The kind of freedom that comes with the feel of the wind in my face and the sound of my feet pounding on the pavement. It’s the mental high that comes with pushing myself and succeeding. When I run, no matter how slow or how far, I feel stronger and more capable. It makes me a better mom, a better woman and a happier person.
But when it comes time to actually sign up to run an actual race, as I did this week, it somehow goes deeper than just how running makes me feel. It becomes about being a part of SheHero history. And this week as the Boston Marathon dominates the news, I can’t help but feel a kinship with SheHeroes like Katherine Switzer who had to fight to simply, run.
Switzer entered and completed the Boston Marathon in 1967, five years before women were officially allowed to compete in it. Race official Jock Semple attempted to physically remove her from the race, and according to Switzer said, “Get the hell out of my race and give me those numbers.” Switzer’s then boyfriend Tom Miller, who was running with her, shoved Semple aside and sent him flying. The story and photographs taken of the incident made world wide headlines and is still one of the most recognizable images in recent history.
“When I go to the Boston Marathon now, I have wet shoulders—women fall into my arms crying. They’re weeping for joy because running has changed their lives. They feel they can do anything” said Switzer.
It’s amazing the number of things we do that, as modern girls and women, we take for granted. So this week as women from all over the world celebrate competing in the Boston Marathon, and women all of the country register for, train for and run races and marathons across the nation, be sure to think of Kathrine Switzer and the many women who along with her fought for the right for girls to run.
Share their stories with the SheHeroes in your life, better yet take them for a run.
Does your SheHero want to run? Check out Girls on the Run.