Tuesday, April 14, 2015


Image from kathrineswitzer.com
Have you heard the story before? The one about how Kathrine Switzer was the first woman to officially run the Boston Marathon? Well, in case you haven't, let me tell you a little bit about it for a moment...

Not so very long ago in a land not so far away, it was completely and totally thought that women weren't capable of running a marathon. They believed all kinds of wacky things like that it would cause our uterus to fall out (!!!), that we might die, that we simply couldn't. But there were some women that absolutely KNEW that what "they" thought was a bunch of baloney. But because of all these wacky ideas, women were not allowed to even ENTER into longer distance races. But all that changed in 1967 when Kathrine Switzer entered the Boston Marathon using her initials K.V. Switzer and was given an official race bib with the number 261.

She toed the line and she finished the race but not before the race director, enraged that a WOMAN was running HIS race, attempted to remove her from the course. And the rest, as they say, was history. He was unsuccessful in removing her and Kathrine Switzer went down in the record books as the first female to run the Boston Marathon. This, of course, opened up the door, albeit VERY slowly, for women to run longer distances. And just look at us now?!?

According to Running USA's data, the number of women finishers increases each and every year.

You don't have to look far to find inspiration in women's running. You have Kara Goucher, Shalane Flanagan, Lauren Fleshman, Mary Cain and more; but I would bet that if you asked those women who inspires them, that each and every one of them would have Kathrine Switzer on their list.

261, Kathrine's bib number, has become more than just a number. It has become a movement; one that continues to inspire people in nations around the world to BE FEARLESS in the face of adversity, no matter what that means to each individual. #261fearless is a mantra, a call to arms for women everywhere to keep moving. 261 is a lifestyle.

For me, I used that image of Kathrine Switzer running on in the face of being attacked on my motivation wall at home as I was training for my first full marathon. I looked at it more than once and thought to myself that I have opportunities to participate in races that female runners didn't get to previously. I was glad that I didn't have to worry about someone trying to kick me off the course and that all I had to do was be fearless enough to keep moving when every part of my body wanted to quit. I think often about how I need to be fearless on a daily basis when I wake up and the call of sleep is greater than the call of working out. It's on those days that I appreciate most that great women like Kathrine Switzer have paved the way for me to love something so much that I can resist the siren call of sleep and fearlessly strap on my shoes instead.

This weekend is the Skirt Sports 261 Fearless Virtual Race and it's not too late to register! But even if you don't do the official race, my challenge to you this weekend, as we celebrate the anniversary of Kathrine Switzer running the Boston Marathon on April 19, 1967, is to read her story here, and then reflect on what it means for YOU to BE FEARLESS. Us girls still have a long way to go when it comes to equality in many avenues, but every time we look fear in the eye and say "not today...you won't beat me today, Fear" and push forward we honor the women that have come before us and stood up for our rights and have proven time and again that WE CAN and WE WILL.

Wearing the Skirt Sports 261 Fearless visor and 261 Switzer Skirt in Fearless Purple - shop for your own and use discount code SSPQL20 for 20% off! That code is good for registration on the virtual race too!

But no matter what - go and BE FEARLESS. Live the 261 lifestyle whether you run or bike or do absolutely nothing; do it fearlessly, my friends!!

Question: Have you been inspired by Kathrine Switzer's story? Or another woman that has paved the way? I want to hear all about it in the comments! Here's your chance to give a shout-out to the Fearless women!


  1. I LOVE the 261 movement!! :)
    Great post, Kristen!

    1. It's pretty empowering, isn't it, Jamie?! :-) I love that we, as women, really have so many role models to look up to!

  2. Never heard of her before but man what an inspiration! Nothing worse than a bunch of dudes threatened by a woman's awesomeness! By the way, you look hot, yo! Rawr!

    1. "Nothing worse than a bunch of dudes threatened by a woman's awesomeness!" I know, right!?!? I love that she proved them all wrong when they said she couldn't do it!

      And woohoo - thanks, girl!!! You are too kind!!!! (But I'll take it - RAWR right back at ya!) :-)