In just less than three weeks from now, I shall be setting off to sunny Mallorca to take part inthe 261 Marathon; the world’s first ever women’s only marathon. The woman behind the race is Katherine Switzer and Switzer’s story is a powerful one for the history of women’s running.
In 1967, using her initials, the twenty-year-old runner signed up for Boston Marathon unaware women were not allowed. When the race director saw her in hisrace wearing an official bib number, he became enraged and attacked her, trying to pull off her numbers and push her off the course. Thanks to her boyfriend,who pushed the official off the course, Kathrine kept the number and finished the race. The bib number was 261.
The message behind the event, written on the website is that it has been created “to give women everywhere a global opportunity to run a marathon that has been uniquely designed just for her: challenging but welcoming; strong but feminine; accessible but exotic.”
It’s a landmark for women’s racing onan international scale. As the official event partners, Runner’s World will be represented by a number of our editions. I will be there on behalf of the UKand I could not be more excited.
It’s been a grueling four months of training through the winter rain. I’ve trained harder than I’ve ever trained in my life, battled niggles that have become slightly more than niggles, stopped having anything that constitutes a social life – unless it involves eating breakfast or drinking coffee and spent more time than is socially acceptable on a foam roller. It’s been a journey and I eagerly anticipate the day that it’s all been building too – I just hope it’s not too hot.
Fnd out more on the race, here.