Katie Harty, 29, a Prince St. resident, will be lacing up her sneakers on April 17, 2017 for the run of her life.
Harty, as well as 100 other runners, will be running the 121st Boston Marathon to represent 261 Fearless, Inc, the new non-profit benefitting women’s running initiatives from legendary marathoner, Kathrine Switzer.
In 1967, Switzer became the first registered women to compete in the Boston Marathon. At that time, the race was considered a male-only event, but, using her initials, Switzer managed to obtain an official bib, number 261. Mid-stride in the competition, an angry race director leapt from the press truck and attempted to pull Switzer from the race. In one of sport’s most dramatic moments, Switzer’s burly boyfriend bounced the official off the course, allowing Switzer to go on to finish. The photo of the incident became one of Time-Life’s “100 Photos That Changed the World.”
“Switzer not only broke the glass starting line,” says Harty, “But she continued to champion the cause of women’s running for the next 50 years. 261 Fearless – a global women’s running network – is the result. This charity uses running to empower women around the world. That’s why I’m running for 261 Fearless.”
“It is a joy to run with Katie in the 121st Boston Marathon,” said Switzer. “What was a dramatic incident 50 years ago became instead a defining moment for me and women runners like Katie. The result is nothing less than a social revolution; there are now more women runners in the United States than men, and these women are both fearless and compassionate, wanting to help other women around the world achieve their goals. Because of women like Katie, 261 Fearless will be able to spread our message far and wide.”
“I know I have some hard work ahead of me,” confesses Harty, who, despite some hamstring issues, has and continues to battle the freezing temps and snow-filled streets of Boston, MA for training. She’s also trying to raise over $5,000 for 261 Fearless. “With the money we raise, this non profit organization is able to help establish social running Clubs and create coaches’ education and communication programs, even right here in our own community!” enthused Harty. “We aim bring women together and connect them with other 261 runners globally. This is a wonderful way to continue to give back and support other women, long past the time of the Boston Marathon. Every woman out there deserves to have the chance to reach her own starting line and feel fearless. Running track and field and playing other sports growing up sure that did for me and I want every woman, every person, to be able to feel that way.”
Despite an inauspicious beginning, the Boston Athletic Association (BAA) early on realized the seriousness of women’s desire to participate and the potential of their endurance. In 1972, five years after the ‘Switzer Incident’, the BAA welcomed women as official competitors, becoming the first major marathon to do so. This year, the Boston Athletic Association has continued its commitment to women’s running by inviting the 261 Fearless team to participate in the 121st running of the Boston Marathon on April 17, 2017.
To donate on Katie Harty’s behalf visit: https://www.crowdrise.com/261fearlessboston2017/fundraiser/katieharty
To learn more about the non-profit 261 Fearless, please visit: www.261fearless.org