Yeeeeaaaars ago I belonged to this message board at Television Without Pity. It was a message board for people who watched The West Wing, but this particular board was for non-show related talk, and I’d feel slightly embarrassed about being such an active member of an Internet community except: a) It’s almost 2012 and I think we’re all over that by now and b) that board functioned in almost identical fashion to my Twitter timeline – a group of people discussing random topics throughout the day, topics I could choose to join in on or just observe, and Twitter is hip so apparently I was just way ahead of my time.
At some point on that board someone asked people to list their favorite inspirational pictures. I had recently read an article in Runners World about Katherine Switzer, the first woman to register and run the Boston Marathon. At the time (1967), females were not allowed to officially enter the race (running long distances was at that time not thought to be good for our, um, delicate systems), but Katherine had qualified and registered with a gender neutral name (K.V. Switzer – her first and middle initial), and lined up to run the race.
When a race official saw her on the race course with official numbers, he shouted “Get the hell out of my race and give me those numbers!” and attempted to physically remove her from the course.
The pictures of this incident are jaw dropping to me—the violence and anger present in trying to remove a female from the race course still gets my blood boiling. I remember reading this article and seeing this picture and thinking to myself how amazing it was for this woman to keep plodding along, one foot in front of another, almost oblivious to the world around her trying to tell her “You can’t.”
A few weeks ago, I opened my Runners World Quote of the Day, and found again Katherine Switzer:
When I go to the Boston Marathon now, I have wet shoulders—women fall into my arms crying. They’re weeping for joy because running has changed their lives. They feel they can do anything.
- Katherine Switzer
Goddamn if that’s not the truth. I started running because I was dealing with chronic illness and I felt that if I could keep moving it meant I was not sickly; I kept running (and triathloning and crossfitting) because the feeling I get when I’m doing those things makes me feel like I can do anything.
So there you go, kids. That’s my feel good running quote of the day for you. Keep sweating, etc.