|1967 – Kathrine Switzer of Syracuse found herself being physically attacked and told to “get the hell out of my race,” by Boston Marathon Race Director Jack Semple.|
I jog a nice easy 10 minute mile (if I am lucky).
Point is. I get up, get on my shoes, my jogging bra (which I hate,) my shorts, or pants, or whatever, and I hit the streets.
Just today I was running. It’s a short route around the Chautauqua grounds. 30 minutes max. But there are hills, and it gets my heart going. Nothing for a Tarahumara Indian, but I’m no Tarahumara Indian. (Check out Born To Run by Christopher McDougall.)
I am Naseem. Born in Chicago, raised 22 storys above the ground to parents who never ran, or coached teams, or watched sports (except for ABC’s Wide World of Sports – “The thrill of victory, the agony of defeat….”) I was an unathletic, “drink of water” that was always chosen last to be on any team. Let’s see, Naseem or the kid on crutches. Naseem or the kid on crutches….
But then in college I started to run. I don’t remember motivated me, But I soon discovered that though I may not be fast, I was at least steadfast. And more than that, I found that my lumberous jogs around towns, through forests, around lakes, made me feel pretty damn good.
It’s all that dopamine and endorphins and stuff. Happy drugs snapping my synapsis to action.
The point is, I run, and today, after my run, I stopped at the amphitheater where, Paula Kerger, President and CEO of PBS was speaking. I stood there, all sweat covered and hyped up on endorphins and listened to her talk about PBS and community, and then she starts in about the history of the women’s movement in the United States and up goes a three minute film about the first woman to run in the Boston Marathon, and suddenly it was not just sweat wetting my face.
I shouldn’t, but do forget sometimes that women have had to fight for every scrap of power, recognition, and rights that they have today: to drive, to vote, to work outside the home, to divorce, to marry whom we want, to not marry, to go to school, to enter the profession that we choose, to have an abortion, to run in a marathon.
Thank you Kathrine Switzer.