Sunday, July 12, 2009

More Like "Marathon Bad-Ass"

I recently finished devoured Kathrine Switzer's autobiography
Marathon Woman. Next to Katharine Graham's Personal History, it's one of the best autobiographies I've ever read. (Maybe it's a Kathrine/Katharine thing.)

Marathon Woman is a must read, whether you're a runner or not. It's absorbing, inspirational and wonderfully written. I enjoyed every page of it.

Switzer takes us from her first infamous Boston Marathon to the first women's Olympic Marathon in 1984 with stories of her relationship struggles and career trajectory weaved in along the way. And what a great story her life has been.

There is little doubt that without her there would have been no 1984 Women's Olympic Marathon. (Let that sink in... 1984. 19.84. I am always dumbfounded when I think about that.)

And also thanks to Kathrine we can take for granted race "comforts" such as Port-O-Lets. Can you imagine a time when there was no toilet at races? Holy lord, people. That's cruel and unusual.

She's also delightfully candid in the book.

During the 1967 incident she admits she was terrified and wet her pants a bit during the scuffle. And the boyfriend who seemed like such a hero for body checking the race director, he turns out to be miserable jerk, not to mention he bitched and whined at her the rest of the race convinced she was going to get him in trouble with the AAU.

So much for him being the best boyfriend ever.

Prior to reading Marathon Woman I thought she was more symbol than anything. Simply the woman who was famously chased down in 1967 for trying to run the Boston Marathon.

My apologies to Ms. Switzer for thinking her impact ended with few iconic images.

Kathrine, you knock my dry-wicking socks off.

1 comment:

Amy P said...

I'm a HUGE Switzer fan! See... we do agree on books sometimes! :-)