The video series on self-confident, inspiring women, which Marc Cain portrays as part of the "Mysterious Women" project, continues with Kathrine Switzer. The women all have different goals and different careers, but one thing in common: They know what they want and can achieve, driven by passion. The history of the women's marathon is inextricably linked with the name Kathrine Switzer: She is the first woman to run a marathon with an official start number and to open up this once male-dominated domain in a spectacular way.
Even as a journalism student, the American was a passionate and enthusiastic runner. When she wanted to register for the Boston Marathon in 1967, her coach did not take her seriously at first, and women were also denied official participation in marathons. The reason seems to be extremely bizarre: their uterus could fall out while running. When, through her hard training, she was finally able to convince her trainer that this was not the case, she started the race on April 19th with the number 261, under the name K. V. Switzer, as a lone woman among 740 men. After two miles the organiser wanted to take her off the track, but her friend, an ex-football player weighing 115 kilos, was able to prevent this with a slight jostle on his part. From that moment on, she knew that she had to finish the marathon not only for herself, but for all the women in the world. The photo that was taken during this event went around the world and revolutionised not only the women's marathon, but the women's sport as a whole. The race triggered a political discussion about women in marathons and also completely changed Kathrine Switzer’s life.
Since this pioneering day, she has been an advocate of women's rights and, with her organisation "261 fearless", named in reference to her now legendary starting number, has stood up for women who are discriminated against on the basis of religion, skin colour or ethnic origin. She also played a large part in the fact that the women's marathon was first approved as a discipline at the Olympic Games in Los Angeles in 1984: She was able to convince Avon, the well-known cosmetics giant, to sponsor a worldwide women's running series that she had created, thereby drawing attention to the subject.
Kathrine Switzer has already written several books and is a commentator for US television. She has contested numerous marathons to date and has also won the prestigious New York City Marathon. The photos of her 1967 marathon are among the 100 pictures that have changed the world. Even today, the energetic Kathrine Switzer is an enthusiastic runner. She radiates concentrated female power and impresses with her strength of will, her fearlessness and her stamina. Marc Cain met her on September 19th for an interview in Berlin, where she took part in the Berlin Marathon at the age of 71. Kathrine Switzer was and is a remarkable woman, a "Mysterious Woman", who knew exactly what she wanted and achieved her goal with flying colours.