The American Kathrine Switzer is a student in 1967 when she asks her coach to enroll her in the Boston marathon that runs without a woman. She does not do it through feminist activism, but just because she loves running: “The morning of the race, I put earrings, she explains to the magazine “20:30 on Saturday” (Twitter). I I made up my makeup and put on some lipstick as always. The weather was terrible with wind and it was raining melted snow … As it was very cold, I put a big gray sweatshirt and suddenly, I looked like all men “, says the sportswoman, now 72 years old and still active.
“From afar, I was drowning in the crowd, everyone was running everywhere, it was completely disorganized, and here we go … The first kilometers are really nice, we laugh, people pass by us motivating us, but after about three kilometers, the press bus comes behind us … The journalists see me with my hair and my friends, they become super excited because there is a woman running the marathon with a bib “, She says. The first woman to officially run a marathon, she managed to register by putting only the initial of her name, as many men did.
“I have to finish this race, otherwise we will say that women can not do it”
“There is another bus behind with members of the organization, She continues. The director of the race jumps off the bus and I hear the sound of the leather soles. ” A photographer jumps on the pavement and immortalizes the following scene: “I turn around the moment he catches me, he has the fiercest face I've ever seen, and shouts to me 'Get out of my race!' My coach intervenes but he slaps him and catches me by the sweatshirt I try to escape and he pulls my bib My boyfriend gives him a big blow to release him After the attack, I understand that I have to finish this race, otherwise we will say that women can not do it. “
Kathrine Switzer ends the marathon in four hours and twenty minutes but she is struck off by the American athletics federation. Too late ! The athlete has become a symbol that will not stop running … and not alone: “I won the New York Marathon and led the fight for women to be officially accepted in marathons, and opened the doors to the Olympic Games by organizing a series of races around the world … to give women the chance to run. “
Excerpt from the magazine “20h30 le samedi” (replay) broadcast on October 26, 2019, just after the newspaper France 2.