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[Nonfiction Wednesday] Kathrine Switzer and “Her Fearless Run”

Read about the inspirational story of Kathrine Switzer and her fearless run.

Fats here.

We are delighted to join the Nonfiction Picture Book meme 2019 hosted by Alyson Beecher @ Kid Lit Frenzy. We would also be linking our nonfiction choices with our reading themes throughout the year, when we can.

Her Fearless Run

Kathrine Switzer’s Historic Boston Marathon

Written by Kim Chaffee
Illustrated by Ellen Rooney
Published by Page Street Kids (2019)
ISBN-13: 9781624146541

Buy Her Fearless Run on Amazon | Book Depository

In 1959, a young Kathrine Switzer held her head high as she ran three laps around her yard, which was equivalent to one mile. It was Kathrine’s best day yet. The mailman, the milkman, and the neighborhood kids thought otherwise. Girls running? No way! It was strange to see a girl running in 1959. Kathrine didn’t think so.

“She thought running was magic.”

– Kim Chaffee, Her Fearless Run

When Kathrine was a student in Lynchburg College, she ran three miles. She was approached by the men’s running coach and was invited to run with the team. Kathrine was very fortunate because Lynchburg happened to be one of the few schools that allowed women to run in men’s races.

Kathrine started taking classes at Syracuse University in the fall. Although women were not allowed to compete in races, Syracuse running coach Arnie Briggs invited Kathrine to practice with them. What I liked about the book was that it showed that Kathrine was not perfect by any means. She struggled to keep up with the Syracuse running team. Coach Briggs started running with her day after day, month after month. Kathrine never gave up. She was determined to prove that she could run a marathon.

Image courtesy of Ellen Rooney Design.

After checking the Boston Marathon rule book, Kathrine “K.V.” Switzer registered for the race. She was the only woman with an official number: 261. Despite an incident involving two Boston Marathon officials, Kathrine finished the race. In 1974, Kathrine won the women’s division of the New York City Marathon. In 2015, Kathrine founded 261® Fearless, a nonprofit organization that aims to empower and unite women through running.

“I didn’t set out to make history;
I was just a girl who wanted to run.”

– Kathrine Switzer

Her Fearless Run challenges people’s perception on what women can do and serves as an inspiration to women everywhere. This is best paired with Girl Running and The Girl Who Ran, which Myra previously reviewed on the blog. As a bonus, check out Kathrine Switzer’s commencement address at Syracuse University on May 13, 2018:

Kathrine Switzer Address from Syracuse University News on Vimeo.

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