Women’s running pioneer Kathrine Switzer will be “passing the torch” from one amazing milestone in her legendary long-distance running career to another when the 261 Fearless Charity Team runners take to the streets of Boston for the 122nd running of the Boston Marathon in April 2018. The Boston Athletic Association will provide its support to Switzer and 261 Fearless again this coming April, as race entries have been allocated to 261 Fearless Inc., which will benefit the non-profit organization in its mission to form women’s running clubs throughout the world.
In the months leading up to the 2017 Boston Marathon, Switzer launched the non-profit, “261 Fearless,” with the mission to unite women through a global network of running clubs, creating a supportive community while encouraging fearless women to “pass forward” a new strength, gained from running, to women who are facing challenges. The movement is sparking a revolution of empowerment and “261” is the symbol that is uniting women as fearless runners. Women of all abilities, cultures and social backgrounds are welcome to participate.
Switzer ran the 2017 Boston Marathon for the 50th anniversary of her first breakthrough run in 1967, but is not planning to run the 2018 Boston Marathon. Instead she will be in Boston this April as an inspirational supporter for the 261 runners. Back in 1967, she pioneered an era of participation by women in all sports, not just running, and her story has inspired a generation of women athletes.
“I’d like to thank the BAA for years and years of support,” said Switzer. “Not only do I sincerely appreciate the unconditional support of the BAA throughout my running career, but I’m forever grateful for their efforts to help us launch and continue the mission of 261 Fearless.
“We are encouraging women runners of all abilities to support each other by promoting a healthy lifestyle, a positive sense of self and fearlessness,” said Switzer. “The 261 Fearless Clubs are creating a new and wide-ranging global presence to connect club members from Greater Boston and cities throughout the USA with runners from all over the world. It all started with Boston and I’m looking forward to continuing the mission, together with the BAA, in April of 2018.”
“Running the 2017 Boston Marathon for 261 Fearless was one of the most inspirational and gratifying experiences of my lifetime,” said Christine Reffel, one of the 261 Fearless coaches from Greater Boston. “Not only did I feel the spirit, emotional and physical support from Kathrine Switzer, but I felt support from a wonderful and diverse group of international 261 Fearless runners and a legion of fans along the marathon route.”
An iconic athlete, author, and advocate for sports and social causes, Kathrine Switzer was the first woman to officially enter and then run the Boston Marathon. Switzer has been honored for her achievements, most recently for running the Boston Marathon on the 50th anniversary of her historic run in 1967 and for her induction to the USA National Women’s Hall of Fame which recognized her for creating positive social change throughout her storied career. The ramifications of this work are both joyful and profound, changing forever the face of sports, health, creating opportunities for women around the world by fearlessly empowering millions beyond the finish line, and it is all activated through the recently launched non-profit 261 Fearless, so aptly named after her bib number in Boston back in 1967.