Katherine Switzer – The First Woman to Enter the Boston Marathon

Katherine Switzer – The First Woman to Enter the Boston Marathon

For the first meeting of 2018, Amélie selected Katherine Switzer. She saw a photo of Jock Semple trying to pull off Katherine’s bib as she ran in the 1967 Boston Marathon and wanted to learn more. She asked her fellow Damsels to read and watch the following materials:


During the meeting, the girls enjoyed dinner together and then watched this video to see what “run like a girl” means to different people.



They talked about what Katherine Switzer did and why it was important. They agreed that she inspired others by being brave and first. They thought that she paved the way for other women in running and showed that being first doesn’t mean being embarassed. They said that she perservered.

Amélie prepared some flash cards and asked the group the following questions:

  • What was Katherine Switzer’s bib number? 261
  • How many years after Katherine Switzer ran in the Boston Marathon were women offically allowed to run in a marathon? 5 years
  • Did a woman run in the Boston Marathon before Katherine Switzer? Yes, Bobbi Gibb ran, but she was unregistered.

The girls divided into two groups and spent ten minutes creating posters using a photo of Katherine Switzer running in the marathon. They then got back together to present their creations.


Finally, the girls had a very lively brainstorm session. They discussed many options for an action to honor Katherine Switzer and eventually decided to run in an event together. They will be attending a fun run together this summer and are deciding how to show their support for the number 261 while they run.