Last night I had the privilege of listening to Kathrine Switzer. For those of you who might not recognize her name, she was the first woman to run the Boston Marathon. Kathrine was amazing to listen to because she was unbelievably inspiring in such a matter of fact kind of way.
She told us the story of how she became the first woman to run the Boston Marathon. But she said it really all started with her Father. He was the first person to really inspire her to reach further and strive for the best. Her father taught her that to be successful was simple but not without a lot of effort. That all she needed to do was put in the work and to “show up” and she would be ahead of everyone else.
Kathrine had another very influential person, the volunteer running coach at Syracuse. Although they didn’t have women’s sports yet, they let her run with the cross country team. Over time they developed a very close friendship and once she proved to him that the beliefs he had about women and their capability wrong, he became her biggest supporter. He believed in her, pushed her and was by her side when she ran the marathon.
It was amazing to listen to Kathrine recount the moment in time that has now become so famous and changed women’s running and sports forever. From that moment on she has worked hard to change sports to include more women’s events. And she did!
In addition to being incredibly inspired, I thought Kathrine made a very important point. There will always be a few people who really inspire you. They will push you to do and be better and reach for what you think is unachievable. You never know who these people will be but they will touch your life in immeasurable ways. And that we all have the opportunity to be that for someone else.