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Kenyans Dominate Boston Marathon

20 April 2017
Kenyans Dominate Boston Marathon

Shockingly, it would be another five years before women were officially allowed to compete in the Boston Marathon.

An inspiring moment during this year's Boston Marathon has captured the hearts of millions.

Kathrine Switzer in 1967 (L) and finishing the race on Monday.

Jose Sanchez, a Marine who also lost part of his leg in Afghanistan, ran the entire race carrying the American flag signed by many who served with him.

Fans crowded the brief ceremony, hugging and posing afterward for pictures with Switzer, a women's running pioneer.

Running the 1967 Boston Marathon changed the course of Switzer's life. Having registered under the name KV Switzer, her gender went unnoticed by officials at the start line, but a few miles in she was attacked by an angry official who tried to pull her off the course - creating an enduring image of women's right's history.

Pictures of that splashed across newspaper front pages, and Switzer somewhat inadvertently became a symbol of the women's movement.

Switzer went on to win the New York City Marathon in 1974 and successfully campaign for the women's marathon to become an Olympic sport in 1984.

This year, in her seventies, Kathrine once again took to the streets of Boston, but this time no one questioned her (or any other woman's) place among the men.

"It was a very good thing she wasn't well-behaved on that morning", said Joann Flaminio, the first female president in the 125-year history of the B.A.A.

"Fifty years before, it was so freezing", she said. I don't make the rules, but I try to carry them out. It was extremely validating. But anytime I doubted myself, the crowd wouldn't let me stop.

"I expected victory since I had trained well for this race", said Kirui, who drew motivation from Kenyans who had won the race before like Korir, Geoffrey Mutai and Robert Cheruiyot.

Kathrine is just one of a handful of courageous women who entered races when it was forbidden, but what makes her so special is what she's done with her notoriety.