A few months ago, I saw a series of vintage images of a young woman running in a marathon. In one image, the disgruntled race director was laying hands on her, attempting to push and pull her off course; in another frame, a different man was slamming his own body into the first man so that the runner could proceed, unmolested. The year was 1967 and the woman was 20-year-old Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to run in the Boston Marathon. The other man was a fellow marathoner and Switzer's boyfriend at the time, who wasn't threatened by the thought of a woman achieving a challenge.
Women were officially allowed in road races in 1971, thanks to the efforts of Switzer and others. Today, Switzer is an author, an award-winning television commentator, a National Women's Hall of Fame inductee, and is still recognized as a leader in the running world. On Sunday, October 19, at 6:30 p.m., Switzer will speak at Auburn High School auditorium (250 Lake Avenue, Auburn). Her talk will include a special appearance by marathon runner, author, and scholar Roger Robinson. Tickets are $15 or $10 for seniors and students, and available at Seymour Library. For more information, call 637-1050 or visit friendsofseymourlibrary.org.