Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Today was a big day for me. I was working at a 5k on the Medic team. I had no idea I would be meeting Kathrine Switzer! What an unexpected surprise!
Read the below bio about her and be amazed! She is one motivating women!

Kathrine Switzer will always be best known as the woman who challenged the all-male tradition of the Boston Marathon and became the first woman to officially enter and run the event. Her entry created an uproar and worldwide notoriety when a race official tried to forcibly remove her from the competition. Three decades later, the incident continues to capture the public imagination and is, in part, the reason Switzer has dedicated her multi-faceted career to creating opportunities on all fronts for women.

Switzer has run 35 marathons, won the 1974 New York City Marathon and in 1975 was ranked 6th in the world and 3rd in the USA in women's marathon. After a successful athletic career, she turned her attention to the creation of women's opportunities in sport, a sports marketing career, communication, and motivating others in both fitness and business.

Having been denied many athletic opportunities herself, Switzer's original goal of establishing opportunities in women's running first emerged in a big way when she created the Avon International Running Circuit for cosmetics giant Avon Products, Inc. over 20 years ago. This worldwide series of women's events and Switzer's tireless lobbying were instrumental in making the women's marathon an official event in the Olympic Games. The first women's Olympic marathon was 1984. The Avon program also revolutionized global social and cultural thinking as it opened the door for public acceptance of women's sports in many countries where few, if any, existed before. (In 2003, Switzer was awarded the Pioneer in Sport Management Award by the University of South Carolina's School of Sports and Entertainment Management for the creation of this innovative program.)

As the then-Director of Sports and Public Relations, Switzer also was responsible for Avon's sponsorship of all the company's sports sponsorships when they reached a new height in the 1980s with over $9 million annual budget. At this time, the company was the title sponsor of Women's Championship Tennis, the developmental Avon Futures Tennis circuit, the World Figure Skating Championship, the Women's International Bowling Congress Championship and miscellaneous equestrian and track and field events in addition to the Avon International Running Circuit. These programs were mostly discontinued in 1986 and Switzer left Avon to pursue other business options through her own company, AtAlanta Sports Promotions, Inc. which she had established in 1982.

A decade later, in 1997, in one of the more amazing turn-arounds in sports sponsorship, Avon decided to return to its sponsorship of women's running. With Switzer again at the helm as Program Director, the company rebuilt the program under the banner of Avon Running- Global Women's Circuit, with an aim of giving women around the world an accessible means of fitness and health through running and walking programs. The program was launched in 1997 in 15 countries with a starting budget of $5 million. However, in 2002, like many companies, Avon downsized its operations and sponsorships, including Avon Running. Avon's sponsorship of women's running today is limited to the global portion of Avon Running, which continues in nine countries. As president of AtAlanta Sports Promotions, Switzer continues to advise these various countries in a consulting capacity.

I got to hangout and chat with her for a good while both as she was running and before the race. What a down to earth women! Women like Kathrine make me proud to be a women! Run on Kathrine, run on!
I hope I will have some photos in the next few days of her and I at the race.
Thank you Dr. Maryida Klimowicz for giving me the opportunity to meet such an inspiration!

Personal workout
Short and sweet. My body and mind are slow today. My shoulder hurts and my head is swimming in allergies.
10 goblet squats
run 400 meters
Repeat 5 times


Coach Rut said...

Jen- Thanks for stopping over at THE FITNESS CONDUIT. You have made my day. Thanks for taking time to share your gratitude.

Shari Baby said...

OMG!!! I LOVE Kathrine Switzer!!! I cannot believe you met her!!! She has been instrumental in womens running...can you believe they tried to pull her from the marathon course becasue "women can't and shouldn't run that distance'!! What a lucky lady you are for having met her.