Thursday, 27 April, 2017

Boston Marathon's 1st Official Woman Contestant Runs After 50 Yrs

Geoffrey Kirui of Kenya crosses the finish line to win the 121st Boston Marathon on Monday Geoffrey Kirui of Kenya crosses the finish line to win the 121st Boston Marathon on Monday
Melissa Porter | 19 April, 2017, 07:16

Striking images of retired Marine Staff Sgt. Jose Luis Sanchez crossing the finish line carrying the United States flag at the Boston Marathon are spreading around the web and social media today. It was torn when the official tried to rip it off her shirt, she said, but she still has it at home - somewhere.

Also running on Monday was Ben Beach, who completed the race for an unprecedented 50th time in a row.

Inside, another line of runners was there on Tuesday to celebrate Kathrine Switzer.

Fans crowded the brief ceremony, hugging and posing afterward for pictures with Switzer, a women's running pioneer. However, Switzer signed up for the all-male race under the name K.V. Switzer and received her number.

Calm winds, camaraderie and competition make a ideal training day for running partners Lisa, Anne and Sarah. Included in those were members of the 261 Fearless Boston Marathon Team, an organisation Switzer founded after racing in 1967 to empower women in athletics.

In her original run, as part of the Syracuse Harriers athletics club, Switzer made global headlines after race official Jock Semple broke into the runners to rip the number off her sweatshirt.

Pictures of that splashed across newspaper front pages, and Switzer somewhat inadvertently became a symbol of the women's movement. Switzer asked. "As negative as that experience was, it became the best thing in my life". "We have the podium for both men and women, so the future is great".

"When I was recovering, I couldn't stand up for three seconds or walk for more than two feet", Sanchez said.

Yesterday morning, wearing the very same number which was nearly ripped off her five decades earlier, the now 70-year-old Switzer completed the Boston Marathon for a ninth time.

Now, 50 years later, she completed Monday's marathon in 4 hours, 44 minutes, and 31 seconds.

"Fifty years before, it was so freezing", she said. "This time it was wall-to-wall cheering, and people not just congratulating me, but thanking me". It was extremely validating.

Kiplagat finished in 2:21:52 to win her Boston debut, adding the victory to two world championships and wins in London, New York and Los Angeles. But perhaps no moment shined better than when this man proudly ran with the American flag. There were a total of 2,596 medical "encounters" on the hotter-than-ideal day; 168 of them were transported to hospitals; 15 to 18 stayed overnight and all are doing fine, according to medical director Chris Troyanos. "And it's awesome to see American distance running on the upswing and being competitive in these races".