Kathrine Switzer's Blog

Kathrine recently ran her first marathon in 34 years. Read how she did it!

Boston. Boston! BOSTON!!!

with 9 comments

For the last 44 years, my heart rate begins to go up starting with the first day in April.  By now, April 10, I also feel anxious and edgy.  By the time I get to downtown Boston and see the banners fluttering and a big gold and blue FINISH painted on Boylston Street, I will be in full hyperventilation.

No, I’m not running. I’m doing my 28th consecutive telecast for WBZ-TV. You’d think I’d have gotten over being nervous about this telecast a long time ago; I mean, I have been there longer for the broadcast than any other Boston Marathon commentator, producer or even news director! Plus I’m working with the best group of friends and colleagues in the business.  But I get nervous because it’s just like running—you do so much preparation and then you want very much to get it right on the day, at the precise moment.

TV is also like running because every race is different and you have to deal with the unexpected while on the move. And this year, more than ever before, those moves will be many and very fast.  Both the men’s and women’s fields are loaded.

Three returning women’s champions will start and they are all top contenders: Lidiya Grigoryeva (winner in ‘07), Dire Tune (‘08), and Salina Kosgei (‘09). It’s an important historical moment to have that many in-shape women’s champions together; it speaks not only to the importance of this race but as their ages span from 24-36, it is testimony to women aspiring to and holding onto top professional status for a long time, despite the rigors of the sport. (Up to two days ago, there were actually four returning champions, but four-time Boston champion Catherine Ndereba, who probably knows more about the demands of long-term performance than anybody, had to withdraw with a piriformis injury.) Add to this list a slew of lesser-know speedsters–particularly Ethiopian women, who have been a tidal wave force in increasing the elite depth of women’s running. Today, Ethiopian women won both Rotterdam and Paris.

The men’s field boasts nine men faster than 2:07. I just looked at the list and thought, this can’t be true! Athletic performance never fails to stun us, but the outpouring of superb men’s marathon times makes talk of a sub 2-hour marathon suddenly less unthinkable.  (Rotterdam today was won in 2:04, after all…)  What is intriguing about the men’s race, however, is that Boston is not a fast course. It can be run fairly fast, but it first has to be run strategically, and that will make this a fascinating race.  That should play into the hands of both D. Merga of Ethiopia and A.Goumri of Morocco, fast guys who know how to hold back and wait, but also of American Meb Keflezighi, who won the New York City Marathon last November using this tactic.   Meb is only ranked 16th coming into Boston, but to me he’s the most dangerous. And you all just KNOW the USA is desperate to have an American winner of Boston; the last was Greg Meyer in 1983.  By the way, I am not at all overlooking American Ryan Hall! Ryan is 3rd ranked in this field and likes to go fast; his challenge is if he does that, will he have to do all the early work himself?

Everyone wants to score an upset in Boston, because if you do it here you’ve done it on the world stage. All around me I see many young, extremely talented unknowns who are aggressive and determined to give it all they have to change their lives on these storied streets.  Just getting to the start line here is a triumph—ask any of the other 25,000 runners  who had to qualify just to get a bib number. Maybe the biggest story in Boston are those numbers—11,315 of whom are women by the way, a massive record—who have gone well beyond fitness to be at Boston. And for the many more who qualified this year but were turned away as the Boston streets simply cannot hold more runners. The capacity for human performance will continue to amaze us, and I am delighted to be reporting on it. Nervous, of course, just like a race. But what a privilege!

I’d love to see you in Boston; here’s where I will be, so stop by or tune in, they are all open to the public:

  • At the Marathon Tours Booth # 2001 at the Expo at the Hynes Convention Center, I’ll be signing and selling my book Marathon Woman and the matching shirt. Hours: Friday, April 16 (3-7PM), Sat., Apr.17 (2-5:30PM) and Sun, Apr.18 (noon-2:30PM).
  • Sunday morning, April 18, at the start line stage of the BAA 5K race on Copley Square, about 7:30 before the 8AM start.
  • At the annual Runners World ‘Legends Panel’, I’ll be speaking along with legends Ron Hill, Greg Meyer, Dick Beardsley and Lisa Rainsberger. Location and Time: Sheraton Boston Hotel, Back Bay Ballroom C, 2nd floor, 3 PM.
  • Monday, April 19: tune in to WBZ-TV (CBS affiliate) from 9:30-2PM to watch the greatest race on earth!

Good luck !  And my best to you, Kathrine

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Written by kevinm

April 11, 2010 at 11:15 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

9 Responses

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  1. Dear Kathrine,
    Reading your post made me all the more excited for Boston. We met at the Marine Corps Marathon expo last fall.
    I re-read some of Marathon Woman yesterday, and a passage really sparked my attention, for I could understand how you felt in your preparation for the 1975 Boston Marathon. I ended up writing about it in my own blog, http://www.medievalistrunningincircles.blogspot.com
    I look forward to seeing you again in Boston.
    Vanessa

    medievalrunner

    April 13, 2010 at 2:44 pm

    • Vanessa! great to hear from you! It’s a perfect running day today in boston, let’s hope it lasts til Monday! I’ll check out your blog shortly–best, Kathrine

      kathrineswitzer

      April 13, 2010 at 7:33 pm

  2. Hi Kathrine, Great post. Have a great time in Boston. Have a great show on WBZ, my wife is back in Boston working at 7. I’ll have her keep an eye out for you. Take care.

    Joe Romanelli

    April 13, 2010 at 3:13 pm

    • hi Joe! I hope to see you!~ Im in Boston already, speaking at Lasell College today. All the best to you and your wife! Kathrine

      kathrineswitzer

      April 13, 2010 at 7:32 pm

  3. Boston ’67 to Bermuda ’08 and back again.

    Katherine:

    I have wondered how I could get this Boston 1967 story to you, so here goes. We met twice at the first Bermuda Challenge in 2008. You past me in the final few yards of the mile and we past one another twice during the half. At the end of both races you introduced yourself.

    When I returned to Oneonta a colleague, John Hurley, asked me about the races and I said in passing that I had a Katherine Switzer story. After listening, he replied that he too had a Katherine Switzer story. In your book you wrote about stopping in a rest stop on the way home from Boston. Well, John was sitting in a rest stop on his way back from running at Boston in 1967 and was looking at a newspaper article, containing pictures of the race, when in walked the woman in the pictures. His recounting of how the paper moved from him to you was interestingly a bit different. Anyway now you know who passed a bit of your history on to you and I have a great story to tell – with two endings no less.

    Congratulations on your run.

    sdj

    Steve Johnson

    April 15, 2010 at 9:10 pm

    • Steve, that is an astonishing story! I’d love to hear John Hurley’s version. Had he read my book and was he surprised to ‘read’ about himself? It is interesting how memory works! And it was so good to hear from you again, after the Bermuda event. It was that weekend that really got me back into running again. Even though the mile was 15 seconds slower the next year! Please keep in touch–best, Kathrine

      kathrineswitzer

      April 29, 2010 at 12:00 am

  4. I enjoyed reading your blog post. Ya know, the Boston Marathon is REALLY starting to grow on me! In this – my third – I was very taken by the crowd support, especially in places like Chestnut Hill and Kenmore Square. WOW!

    And the head rush you get when you make that last left-hand turn from Hereford onto Boylston never gets old, does it?

    It was great to see you there, even if only briefly. Catherine and I are already talking about next year. 😉

    ~Todd

    Todd Jennings

    April 22, 2010 at 4:54 pm

    • Hi Todd–I am so proud of your run! Good seeing you in Beantown. Roger and I are going to be in Europe from May 9-June 14 so it looks like our beer and burger will be after that. I’m on the road until May 9. Best, Kathrine

      kathrineswitzer

      April 28, 2010 at 11:55 pm

      • Thanks, Kathrine. I’m blushing…..

        Enjoy your time in Europe, give my fond regards to Roger, and will see you some time in the 2nd half of June.

        =Todd= 🙂

        Todd Jennings

        April 29, 2010 at 12:27 am


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