The Best Thing Running Gives Us

Susan Donnelly with Kathrine Switzer

Yesterday, the magazine for the New York City Marathon in the mail.

(Did you know there's a magazine? With the thousands of finishers' names in it? Pretty awesome!)

And two emails have arrived in the last week announcing that this year’s entry application is open

The race has been on my mind.

I had such a blast running for 261 Fearless there last year and was thinking of entering on my own this time, but it didn’t feel as good.

If I was going to run that marathon again, I wanted to be part of the 261 Fearless team again. 

Being part of that team was half of the fun of it. Experiencing a lifetime race with a group of strong, positive and yes - fearless - women, raising money for a cause I believe in - women's empowerment through running. I loved it!

But as amazing as that was, the icing on that cake was getting to meet Kathrine Switzer.

If you don’t know her,  Kathrine Switzer was the first women to run the Boston Marathon with an official number. The race director didn’t know “K Switzer” was a woman until race day. When he found out, he tried to pull her off the course in the famous photo below, but she finished anyway and went on to help get the women's marathon in the Olympics and so much more.

Kathrine Switzer at the 1969 Boston Marathon.

Kathrine Switzer at the 1969 Boston Marathon.

Kathrine helped found 261 Fearless and name it. 261 was Kathrine's race number at Boston and her organization's goal is to encourage women to be fearless.

Plus, she’s a personal hero of mine. I'm 55. If she hadn’t braved that event, girl’s running teams might not have existed when I got to junior high and wanted to start running. I might not be where I am today. She paved the way for me and was one of my few role models at the time.

In her talk to us the day before the marathon, she said so many things that resonated about the external and internal barriers that women around the world face when they decide to begin running, why a safe environment like 261 Fearless matters in building their confidence, and what women’s running looks like from her vantage point (hint: a social movement!).

But my most treasured memory came at the end.

“Run forever,” she advised. “It keeps you young in body, mind, and soul.”

“It’s given me religion, health, and so many things…” she continued. 

“But most of all,” she smiled big and paused, “It’s given me, ME.”

“I don’t want to live long - I want to live well and I hope you do too,” she concluded.

“Keep moving!”

Susan Donnelly’s signature

P.S. - If you’re ready to get past the self doubt and negative self-talk, email me here to set up a free 30-minute consult call to talk about how training the 80% mental part of your running can uplevel your results!