Women’s sports advocate and marathon runner Kathrine Switzer to speak at UofL

    Kathrine Switzer poses with a replica of her first Boston Marathon bib number 261, Friday 24 February 2017 in Wellington, New Zealand. Credit: Hagen Hopkins.

    LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Kathrine Switzer, an advocate for sports equality for women whose entry in the 1967 Boston Marathon sparked worldwide controversy and resulted in an iconic Life magazine photo, will speak at the University of Louisville Oct. 26.

    Switzer’s free, public talk will begin at 7 p.m. in Comstock Hall in the School of Music on Belknap Campus. Her talk, “Kickin’ It With Kathrine: A Series of Coincidences That Changed History,” is the keynote speech for UofL’s Student Activities Board Women’s Empowerment Week.

    In April, at 70 years old, Switzer pinned on her original bib number and ran the Boston Marathon again to mark 50 years since she became the first woman to officially enter and run the marathon. Her 1967 race is forever remembered in a photograph that is included in Life magazine’s “100 Photos That Changed the World” showing the race director trying to remove her number because she was a woman.

    She has continued to run marathons and is recognized as a sports and social advocate, author and Emmy Award-winning television commentator. She has run 40 marathons in her lifetime, winning the 1974 New York City Marathon.

    Her lifelong passion has been sports equality for women. She organized a global series of 400 women’s races in 27 countries. She was also instrumental in making the women’s marathon an official event in the 1984 Olympic Games. She recently created “261 Fearless,” a global nonprofit movement that empowers women through running. 

    Parking for the event is available in the North Visitor’s Lot across Brandeis Avenue from the Music School. The event is sponsored by Student Activities Board, Commonwealth Credit Union and the UofL Women’s Center.


    Niki King
    Niki King Jones is positive she has the best job at the University of Louisville, serving the communication needs of the departments of fine arts and theatre, the School of Music, University Libraries and Alumni – all the fun, creative stuff. Before coming to UofL in 2015, Niki held communication positions in both private and nonprofit sectors in Louisville, Ky., including at Heaven Hill Distilleries and the Jewish Community of Louisville. For 10 years prior, she was a reporter at various newspapers across the country, most recently The Courier-Journal. Niki graduated from the University of Memphis with a BA in journalism and has a masters degree in community and leadership development from the University of Kentucky.