Running advice from trailblazer Kathrine Switzer to motivate your marathon and half-marathon training

Kathrine Switzer was the first woman to register and compete in the Boston Marathon. She debunks five running myths and inspires you to hit the pavement.

Kathrine Switzer was the first woman to officially compete in the Boston Marathon in 1967. You may have seen her in an iconic photo where a man is trying to physically remove her racing number — number 261. That man was race organizer Jock Semple. And that photo was taken just before Kathrine’s boyfriend, who was running beside her, charged the race organizer and shoved him out of the way.

At that time the Boston Marathon was a men’s-only race, but Kathrine had been able to enter by using only her initials on the entry form. Kathrine finished the race in 4 hours and 20 minutes, and went on to run many more marathons and advocate for the inclusion of women in running events around the world.

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Kathrine started 261 Fearless, “a global network of women, who have found strength, power and fearlessness from putting one foot in front of the other,” and is currently the health and fitness ambassador for Humana. Kathrine plans to run the marathon relay in this year’s Kentucky Derby Festival (KDF) Humana miniMarathon/Marathon.

This week Kathrine joined a run with the Norton Sports Health training program for the KDF races.

If you missed the opportunity to run side-by-side with Kathrine, you can still benefit from her wisdom. Here are five running myths and truths to inspire you to get started or keep going:

1. MYTH: I am too old to run. 

TRUTH: You are never too old, too big or too slow to start running.

Kathrine says that this is the single most important thing to remember.  Running is for all levels and all ages.

2. MYTH: I have to train on my own.

TRUTH: You can train with a group.

In a group, everyone wants to see you succeed, and everyone is there to support each other.  Finding a community to run with can result in learning, friendship and fun.

3. MYTH: The only reason to run is to stay fit.

TRUTH: Find your reason for running.

Running has a host of benefits, in addition to keeping you fit. Running can help you battle insecurities. Running can empower you.

4. MYTH: Running is only a physical activity.

TRUTH: Running is a place where you can think creatively, solve your problems and work out stress.

There are more than just physical benefits to running.  Kathrine encourages you to use this time for mental health as well.

5. MYTH: Running is something that you do when you’re young.

TRUTH: You can run to help stay fit your entire life.

As you age, the more you do, the more you’ll be able to do. So, keep running!

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