Kathrine Switzer was a few miles into her history-making run at the Boston Marathon on April 19, 1967, when Jock Semple, the co-director of the famous 26-mile race, suddenly appeared behind her and tried to shove her out of the competition.
Semple’s lunge at Switzer was captured by national news photographers. What happened next changed running forever.
Switzer’s boyfriend, Thomas Miller, threw a block that knocked Semple out of her way, allowing the 20-year-old runner from Syracuse University to finish the race in 4:20:02 at a time when women were thought to be too fragile for long-distance running.
Semple later disqualified Switzer for, among other things, running with the men. She’d registered under the name “K.V. Switzer” not with the intention of becoming a women’s pioneer in the sport but to prove to her coach, Syracuse’s Arnie Briggs, that women could run 26.2 miles.