Forum Network

A video for this event is featured on the Forum Network

Lowell Lecture

Lowell Lecture with Kathrine Switzer: More Than Running: Changing the Course of Women’s History

Date & Time

Sept. 15, 2020 at 6 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.


Boston Public Library - Rabb Lecture Hall
700 Boylston Street Boston, MA 02116
Driving Directions


In 1967, Katherine Switzer became the first woman to officially run the Boston Marathon as a numbered entrant. During her run, race official Jock Semple attempted to stop Switzer and grab her official bib; however, he was shoved to the ground by Switzer's boyfriend, Thomas Miller, who was running with her, and she completed the race. It was not until 1972 that women were allowed to run the Boston Marathon officially. Fifty years later, Kathrine Switzer successfully ran the Boston Marathon again at age 70.

Switzer was originally going to join us during the week of the 2020 Boston Marathon to discuss these barrier-breaking moments on the racecourse and in life. The COVID-19 outbreak resulted in the cancellation of the Boston Marathon in April 2020. In its stead, the Boston Athletic Association is hosting a series of virtual events in the second week of September. Learn more at

Part of the Boston Public Library’s mission is to support lifelong learning, education and civic engagement that is “Free to All” including programs that bring figures and experts of note into conversation and dialogue. Arc of History: Contested Perspectives is a mini-series informed by historical moments and movements, recent and long past. The series is presented virtually in conjunction with the Lowell Institute and is produced and archived by the WGBH Forum network. For more information, please visit

Presenting Organization

Boston Public Library


Programs Department (, )

Join the Boston Public Library in partnership with the WGBH Forum Network for an online Lowell Lecture with Kathrine Switzer, author of Marathon Woman: Running the Race to Revolutionize Women's Sports. BPL President David Leonard will moderate this program, which is part of our "Arc of History: Contested Perspectives" series. People who are interested in attending are asked to register at

In her book, Switzer describes how she registered to compete, saying, “there was nothing about gender in the marathon. I filled in my AAU number, plunked down $3 cash as entry fee, signed as I always sign my name, 'K.V. Switzer,' and went to the university infirmary to get a fitness certificate.” During the marathon she was accosted by race officials who tried to take away her bib number. As a result of Switzer’s act, the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) banned women from competing in races against men until 1972, when the Boston Marathon established an official women's race.