Health, Wellness & Performance Coaching

Kathrine Switzer: The Historical Day that Forever Changed Running (Episode #163)

April 19, 2021 Katherine Switzer Season 3 Episode 16
Health, Wellness & Performance Coaching
Kathrine Switzer: The Historical Day that Forever Changed Running (Episode #163)
Show Notes Transcript

In 1967, Kathrine Switzer became the first woman to officially run the Boston Marathon. However the way it happened stunned the world and changed the face of marathons and women's running. In this episode, Kathrine peels back the curtain on what really happened on the day of the race and how it changed our world since that day.
 
Kathrine Switzer has long been one of running’s most iconic figures  She is known not just for breaking barriers but also for creating positive global social change. When she became the first woman to run the Boston Marathon in 1967, and her official bib number was 261.  Because of her, millions of women are now empowered by the simple act of running and from her incredible journey, birthed 261 Fearless, Inc.   Katherine's powerful story has changed the history of women in running today and this podcast you don’t want to miss!

To find out more about 261 Fearless, please see https://www.261fearless.org/

For more information about the Catalyst Community, earning your health & wellness coaching certification, the annual Rocky Mountain Coaching Retreat & Symposium and much more, please see https://www.catalystcoachinginstitute.com/ or reach out to us [email protected]

If you'd like to share the Be A Catalyst! message in your world with a cool hoodie, t-shirt, water bottle stickers and more (100% of ALL profits go to charity), please visit https://teespring.com/stores/be-a-catalyst

If you are a current or future health & wellness coach, please check out our Health & Wellness Coaching Forum Group on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/278207545599218.  This is an awesome group if you are looking for encouragement, ideas, resources and more!

 Finally, if you enjoy the Catalyst Podcast, you might also enjoy the YouTube Coaching Channel, which provides a full library of freely available videos covering health, wellness & performance: https://www.youtube.com/c/CoachingChannel

Speaker 1:

The year is 1967, shortly after Catherine Switzer passes the first mile marker of the Boston marathon, the race director, furious to see a woman running in quotes , his race jumps off the press truck and attempts to rip off her number and pull her from the course. So it's his boyfriend who is running nearby, happens to be an All-American football player and gives the race director a body block for the ages. So it's her collects herself and goes on to not only become the first woman to officially finish the Boston marathon, but to also help change the course of women's running worldwide. Welcome to the latest episode of the catalyst, health, wellness, and performance coaching podcast. I'm your host, Dr. Beth Cooper of the catalyst coaching Institute. And it is my incredible pleasure to welcome the one and only Catherine Switzer to the show. For those of you who are health and wellness coaches are heading that way. We are really excited to announce the Rocky mountain coaching retreat and symposium in magnificent Estes park. Colorado is a go for September 17th through the 19th. This year, the super early registration discount is currently available for this incredible event. And it's designed specifically for health and wellness coaches, all the [email protected]nytimeaboutthisortheupcomingmbhwccoachingcertificationresultsatcatalystcoachinginstitute.com . We're happy to set up a time to chat . Now, let's hear the rest of the story with Catherine Switzer and what happened before, during and after one of the most iconic photos in sports came to be on the latest episode of the catalyst health, wellness, and performance coaching podcast with Catherine is such a privilege. This is so much fun. I appreciate you jumping on with us. Thanks for joining us on the catalyst, health, wellness, and performance coaching podcast.

Speaker 2:

Happy to be here, Brad. I mean, it's so great. And I really silly what you guys are doing. And I think this is really tremendous to get the message out there and keep spreading it through the training program. That's terrific.

Speaker 1:

Thank you so much. So listeners know the essence of your story. I've set it up in the intro, but let me just say a little bit of that back. It is it's like picture perfect. You're out there. You're the first woman to officially run the Boston marathon, the race director. Who's obviously a knucklehead tries to grab your number, push you off the course, your boyfriend, who just happens to be an all American football player puts one of the greatest cross blocks we've ever seen right in front of the press truck. So walk us through that. That's the basics. That's the setup. That's the pictures . People have seen maybe a little video clip, but walk us through what happened that day. What was going on in your mind on the course, et cetera, et cetera.

Speaker 2:

So it's important to know, first of all, that I wasn't at the Boston marathon prove anything. You know, I was there because I wanted to run. And actually it was a reward from my coach. Um, he said to me in practice one day, no woman could ever run a marathon. And we argued. I gave them all the women who I knew who had run a marathon, not without any. And even Roberta give jumping out of the bushes at Boston in 1966, he wouldn't believe it. He was like so many guys who just in those days, you know , just, you know, you believe, well, people are going to have a narrow view of what capability is right. And they just can't make the leap. And we argued and we were on the run together and he , and he said, if you showed me in practice, that'd be the first person to take you, which is like

Speaker 3:

Set the target and aim for it,

Speaker 2:

Have a challenging , um, and have somebody tell you, you can't, you're not capable of doing it, but also a buddy, you know, I had a buddy, he was my training partner. And , um, we, you know, I didn't mess around after that. I was, you know, doing all the hard parts . Anyway, when I did it in practice, we, we , uh, instead of a 26.2 miles, I didn't think we'd gone far enough. And we ran, this is historic part of, we actually ran 31 miles and he, he passed out at the end of the workout. And when he, when he came to, he said, women have hidden potential in endurance and stamina. And I kind of was knowing this because the guys on the cross country team would never come and run, run with us with more than 15 miles. So they thought we were crazy people, but the further we went, the better I felt. And , and , and so anyway, we discovered this amazing thing. So RNA was the guy who helped me sign up for the race. Insisting. I sign up that it was a serious race, had to pay my $2 interest and , and present my AAU card, et cetera, of course. But I famously signed my name K V Switzer, which if officials obviously thought I was a guy, but when I got to Boston, all the men were wonderful to me. I was really happy. I knew I could finish the race and then came the, that amazing incident in a mile and a half where the official completely lost his temper. I mean, it was a bad day. It was sleeting, snowing headwind. You're trying to get the race off one time. He felt that I was a clown in his race. I was trying to make him look like a fool by wearing numbers. And , and, and, you know, we were all dressed alike because it was so cold. We all looked like we look like refugees, really ? And I'm wearing our baggy sweats and try to stay warm. I was disappointed because I wanted to show off my cute

Speaker 3:

Shorts and tops.

Speaker 2:

I mean, you know, it was freezing, but he was out of control. And so we went from being really happy and laughing at the beginning of a marathon. Like you often are. Yeah . Especially the first mile Boston. Oh , wait . Yeah. It's downhill. What's not to love, you know, and suddenly when he came after me and attack me, he was so out of control. Uh , I'd never seen such a fierce face and I'd never been attacked by anybody or hit my life. I couldn't get away from him. And it was, it was almost comic. Cause I was trying to run it. He was pulling me back by the sweatshirt and he was trying to rip my big bill, my bid . And he got , this is the one who got on the back. Cause he got the, he got the corner of it. That's obviously not the real big, but it's close enough. Right. But my coach Arnie was screaming at him. Leave, leave her alone. She's okay. I've trained her, leave her alone. And he just smacked my coach. And then it came back after me and, and Tom, my boyfriend 235 only, only running because if a girl could run, he could run. I couldn't convince him not to come to Boston. He couldn't, he just, he hadn't trained. Uh, he'd probably never run more than a mile in his life. Weight, 235 pounds. No more marathon weight. Yeah . Abs absolutely great height, weight ratio. I said, Tom, you know, don't, don't do this. And he said, if a girl can do it, I can do famous last words. Yeah. Well anyway, so he came in handy, knocked the official away. And then, then we all ran like hell, you know , past the press truck and the press truck after us, you know , yelling and screaming and you know, when are you going to quit? Really, really being very tough on me. And we, you know, here we are laughing about it, but it was really a terrible moment. Really terrible. I was terrified. I mean, I was 20. Right , right. And I was humiliated. I was made to feel small. Um, I just, I just for a split second, wanted to go home to my mom. And then I , I knew if I did that though , nobody would believe I could do it. Nobody believed women could do it. Right . And, and , and women, this is just the Eve of the women's liberation movement. You know, the 67 women, women were pilloried for always barging into places where they're not welcome and they can't do it anyway. Well, of course you can't do it anyway. If somebody's going to jump on you like that, but, and, and humiliate you and, and, you know , um, and, but my coach said run like, hell. And then I got so determined. I said, you know, I'm going to finish this race in my hands, my knees, if I have to, because if I don't, nobody's going to believe women can do it. And that was the turning point in my life. And I think we all have one of those it's , uh , it's, it's , uh , maybe not quite so dramatic, but it's the moment when we make the decision to take responsibility and finish the job. Right. So destiny is, to me, I was not quitting. Nothing was going to ,

Speaker 1:

You took it. You're talking about, we all have that opportunity. There's bigger than seeing an opportunity and taking the opportunity. You talk that opportunity, Catherine . And I can't imagine it when you talk about physiology and endorphins and all that kind of stuff, this didn't happen at mile 24 and you just needed to get across the finish line. You're at mile one and a half, and you've just burned all this nervous energy. You've just got all these endorphins have gone through the roof. You've got the, you know, the fight flight kicking in and you're just started. I mean, that had to be so difficult, just physiologically after

Speaker 2:

Going through that, it was, we, we all went into a trough. It was really interesting. It was almost like kind of going unconscious and, and , um, I just kept running and it was interesting. I thought, once you lost all your adrenaline like that, you, you couldn't get it back, but we just gradually did get it back. But we've all had the experience where a car just misses or a dog goes after or something like this. And then you go, Oh God . So Austen . And I , we sort of came out of this anesthesia at about 10 Ks and then slowly waking up and picking up and picking up, picking up. And I got feeling better and better and better. And then the other crisis point of course is always heartbreak Hill 21 miles, right? When you lose all your glycogen. And at that point, it was interesting because I didn't lose, I didn't lose my glycogen, but I lost a lot of negative emotion. And I, I always say you can't run 20 miles to stay mad. And I got, I had murdered the official every way I could, 20 miles,

Speaker 4:

I forgave him. I said, it's not his fault. He's a product of his time.

Speaker 2:

You know ? And I said, it's going to be women like me who are going to have to change the system. And I got really angry at other women. I said, why aren't they here? What's wrong with these women? You know, they're not out here and they're not feeling great. Like I'm feeling and powerful. And then I did one of those. I said , you stupid

Speaker 4:

Girl. You know, you had

Speaker 2:

A parents who encouraged you, you guys on the team, arnis your unit have been running with you. Most women never had those opportunities. And so they were afraid and, and they were afraid of all the old myths. And , and I'm sure you've heard them. I mean, you're in the biz. I mean, and they still exist around the world today. You know, your uterus is gonna fall out. You're gonna turn into a man. You're going to grow hair on your chest. You're gonna get big legs, all the things that would scare women, who, who only had their femininity, didn't have an opportunity to be powerful. And you couldn't convince them that this was what going to be one of the best things they could ever do for themselves in terms of their health and beauty and fitness or whatever. Right . And I thought, okay, okay. You know, boiling Eureka moment, I've got to change that. And , and when I finished the race, I swear to God, I felt better than at any point in the whole race, except for the beginning. I could have run all the way back to Hopkins.

Speaker 4:

I had this life, I had this life, man.

Speaker 2:

Wow. And it was, it was a matter of creating those opportunities. But the other one, and I know you want to discuss it is I finished in four hours and 20 minutes, my coach kept saying, we're going to slow down and we're going to slow down because if you want to finish and finish strong, we've got to slow down. And just for safety sake, I said, okay. So we finished in four hours and 20 minutes, I had plenty left, but I knew I was going to be pilloried because four hours in 20 minutes in 1967 was considered a jogging race. And the guy who attacked me, Chuck simple, said in a press conference the next day, four hours, 20 minutes, I could have walked it down. I was so furious. I'm going to try to become an athlete. And up to that point, everybody was saying , you're not really an athlete. You really just running long. You're a jogger. And I said, okay, let's see. See if I can. I'm an ordinary person, ordinary.

Speaker 1:

A lot of people dispute that one, but keep

Speaker 2:

Going. I know, I know. But you know, you can look at your basic mile time or your basic a hundred meter . Okay. And I mean, I, I had to train my brains out to get under what, 63 minute , uh , 63 seconds for 400. I mean, that's, that's translating that, that ain't world-class but I worked hard. I worked really, really hard. I wish I got myself up to training over a hundred miles a week, double workouts. You know, I ran a marathon distance, 27 miles every Sunday. So I had super endurance. I probably should have been an ultra runner.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. If it were a thing back then, right? Cause this is late sixties, early, early seventies at this point. Or is this more 68? 69.

Speaker 2:

So I started moving into serious , uh, serious training around 73, 72, 73. Up to that point. I just ran long. Got it. But I was running double workouts and just running long and running double workouts. And I was doing a slow a hundred miles a week sometimes. I'm I did get my marathon time down to three 15. No problem. I mean, I went from four 20 to three 15. I mean I could roll out of bed.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. I was gonna say you didn't stop there. I know where you're at , where you ended up. This is super impressive, everybody.

Speaker 2:

Well, from three 15 down to two 51 took so much work. Oh, cheaper's lots and lots of fast intervals. The point is this is an ordinary person could do it. You know? I mean, I trained hard. I was lucky I didn't get injured maybe. Cause I mean, we had crapped shoes, but I did that. And the capacity for human achievement astonishes me and it has always astonished me. That's one reason why I've been running for 63 years is always magic in that , in terms of is it's it's it's return . Right ? And it's, and it's always magic in terms of what physically you can do. It is fascinating. And I had that. I had that I'm taking over here .

Speaker 1:

Nah , this is what you're here for. We , we love it. Nobody's complaining . They've heard from me enough.

Speaker 2:

I, it , it was fascinating again, when I trained up to run the Boston marathon again, 50 years later in 2017 and no , no woman had done that, but that's not credit to me. It's how few women used to run 50 years ago, but I was in shape and I thought I could train up for it again. And I ran then in 2017, I only ran 24 minutes slower than I did my first one when I was 20. And the same training, you know , kicked in, in the , in the two years before I took two years to gear up and you know, I had to do some four and five hour runs because that's how it's going to take me, you know? But it's funny. The body responds at any age. It was, it was phenomenal to feel that same kind of thrill, you know, I would finish a four or five-hour run and I would just come home and go.

Speaker 1:

But

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

So, okay. So much to unpack here. I have got a list of questions, but I have a feeling they're going out the door. Cause you've , you've given us a lot of rundown here. So let's first talk about you. You're 20 years old. What formed you, you, you gave credit to your parents to support your coach. Were there books that really drove you? Was there music that was in your head saying, you know, you can do better. You know, you can stand in that gap. What, what, what was it that made you unique? Because we talked about, you got the opportunity. We all get an opportunity at some point, but you took it. Why did Catherine take it? What makes you, who you, what makes you back then? I want to explore the next several years, but what, what at age 20 had helped form that person that was willing to take such a risk and to push through such a frankly scary situation.

Speaker 2:

It was, it was, I often look at that picture. I looked at that face and I said, how did a 20 year old girl make that decision? You go back to age 12, the night, my father said, you don't want to be a cheerleader, cheerleaders, cheer for other people. You, you participate . Life has to participate. So, you know, come on. I was the luckiest girl in the world to have parents like that. And my dad took me outside and he said, how do you run a mile a day? You're going to be the best player on your field hockey team in high school. When you go to high school. And I started running a mile a day and it was the sense of empowerment. Wow . That changed my heart because I was scared. I was the only 12 going to high school. And in an advanced stream, don't do this to your kids. I mean, I could never cut you up. I always felt like I could never catch up. I was running a mile a day when I knew nobody else was running a mile a day . And it made me feel like I had a victory. Nobody could take away from me. And that's why I've been running for 63 years. I mean, cause I still have that sense of empowerment and fearlessness. And I'm trying to give it to as many women as possible, which is another story. But that was, that's what gave me the courage then to when I was at Syracuse university to go to the men's track coach and ask if I could run on the men's track team. And he said, no, you can't officially, but we'd welcome you to come and train with the thing. If you wanted to, he thought I'd never show up. And when I showed up, that's the other thing is it gives you the courage to show up. So I showed up and then he was stunned. And the assistant coach who was a volunteer was the university mailman. And he was the guy RNA Briggs who had run 15 Boston marathons. And he was just a simple guy. I mean, he's sweet.

Speaker 1:

Who , who became your coach? Everyone aren't you became your coach.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. But, but, but he wasn't a coach. He was the mailman. And I often say from a really simple kind heart, you can learn so much, you know, really , um , pay attention to , to ordinary people. You know, I learned more from Arnie Briggs, the mailman than I did from all the professors in my undergraduate and graduate degree, I swear to you. And he taught me more about life just by being nice. He was phenomenal, phenomenal. So all of those things counted so that I had my mom and dad and then I had the guys in the cross country team were great to me. And then Arnie, who first didn't believe a woman could run the distance. And then when I proved to him, he, he kept his promise. He said he was going to take me to Boston and did a 50 year old man put himself on the line for a 19 year old girl to go to the Boston marathon. How big is that? I mean, incredible. That's awesome. I mean, I'm not sure I could do it now. I try, but it's, it's a big risk. That's what gave me the guts. There you go.

Speaker 1:

Wow. Okay. So you're the first guest to make me cry. Um, all right . We've talked about some of this, but after the race was complete, what type of response did you get from those outside of your inner circle? Obviously your inner circle is probably like way to go . But what were you hearing from other men and women as you went forward?

Speaker 2:

It was totally polarized spread . Um, I was getting buckets of fan mail. You know, we've got your picture from the newspaper

Speaker 1:

Folks. If you have not seen this, you have to look this up. We'll include it with this, but seriously, if you haven't seen this, it is all time. Sorry. Keep going.

Speaker 2:

Well, it's one of a hundred photos that changed the world. I mean, it was coincidence. I mean, it's just absolute coincidence that that happened at that moment.

Speaker 1:

Just as far as the type of response you received, you got your fan mail, but my understanding is it wasn't all, even from the women that it wasn't necessarily all positive. Is that right?

Speaker 2:

Oh , some of it was awful. You know, you're going to fry in hell. God's going to get you. This is, this is not the Christian thing to do. Uh, really it's disgraceful that you're sweating in public, you know, on and on and on with the , all these myths spectators were not so hot, either some of the men would shout. You should be home in the kitchen, making dinner for your husband. But you know what? I sat around with my roommate . So this mail would come in and we'd hand out the hatred . We would laugh hilariously. Okay. And Bennet . Right. But the fan mail weekend .

Speaker 1:

Wow. That is so cool.

Speaker 2:

There was a butcher from Alabama who wrote the proposed marriage and all the guys, there are a lot of letters from guys in Vietnam. You know, I felt so sorry for them. And they , they were S some of them were saying, you know, I ran track at Yale and you know, here I am in nom, would you write back to me? And wow, very cool.

Speaker 1:

You know, I'm sure everybody wants to know whatever happened to your boyfriend. The guy that made the great cross block.

Speaker 2:

Oh my God. Oh my God. You ready for this story?

Speaker 1:

All right . We're ready. Bring this one. Okay .

Speaker 2:

Well, he wrote the zero to hero, but zero again, unfortunately. Okay. So he, he , uh , knocked the official away. And then when we were running again and the official , uh , he actually got up and got on the bus and came by and cursed at us. And then when we started the race, you know what everybody did to him. Right. But at any rate, so now the press trucks away on our way. And Tom turns to me and he said, you're getting me in all kinds of trouble. I said, what do you mean? I'm getting you in all kinds of trouble. He said, I hit an official, Hey , they took my picture, hitting it official. I'm going to get expelled from the amateur athletic union. And I am not going to make the Olympic team. And it's all your fault. And you have ruined my Olympic dreams in the middle of the race, in the middle of the race. Now, girlfriend argument in the middle of the race, everybody's embarrassed. You know, you see people arguing a couple in a restaurant and everybody in the whole wreck , but you can't move. Right. You got to get up. And certainly you're running in the Boston marathon. Everybody's looking around trying to avoid us. And I'm I'm crying, right . Because he's humiliating me. Um, and he said, he said , uh , besides that you run too slow anyway and took off. Right. Okay. You're smiling.

Speaker 1:

I don't think he finishes his race is what I think is going to happen here.

Speaker 2:

Wait for it . At 13 miles going up the Hill, right into Wellesley. I saw his sweatshirt up there and Arnie said to me, he said, gee, do you think that's Tom? I said, for God's sakes , the , do you see the target on his back? Well, I caught up to him and then he started jogging. Like I had been watching him walk. Right. And then he goes, Oh man, am I tired? And I said, yeah, it's a long way. You know, at that, at that point, everything you say is going to be awful. So he said, I'll get it back. And I said, call a taxi because you don't get it back. If you're walking at 13 . And he said, and he started jogging again. And it , Oh , he said, he said, walk with me. If you walk with me, I'll get it back. I said, Tom, I can't walk with you. I said, I'm going slow. I've got momentum. I'm going to lose my momentum by catch the sweep truck said , thanks so long . And I said, no , the sweet truck picks up the one . We'll see with the finish a hundred yards down the road. I hear OD never leave you.

Speaker 1:

Oh , no. So was that the end of this thing where you guys like race over relationships over?

Speaker 2:

Well, I thought I said to, I said to Arnie Arnie. So just let him go. And I said, go on . You know, there goes, that relationship mean it was pretty serious. You know what that means you're going steady. Okay. So we get to the finish. All the interviews, the journalists are, they're not all full . And we have blankets around us. It's really bitter cold, and we're really cold. And we can't find Tom anywhere. And nobody's heard of a sweet truck. I said, Oh God, Arnie . He's, he's lost someplace in Boston. And he said, well, what are we going to do? And I said, I don't know. And he said, we're freezing. So we waited an hour and 15 minutes. By that time, we were absolutely purple. And Arnie said, we're going, we've got to go. And we left the area. I looked right up Wilson street one last time. And I saw Tom coming down to the finish line . I don't know , we got excited. He said, Tommy , you didn't sweep truck never came. Anyway. We rode back to Syracuse that night, six hours in the car, we're in the back seat , all to see face. The end of the endorphins had all kicked in and everything. He was so happy. Boy, look at us. We're cool. You know? And , um, we got engaged.

Speaker 1:

Wow. I didn't think it was going to end that way.

Speaker 2:

Oh, we got engaged. We got married next year. We got divorced five years later. Uh, don't ask me why we got married. It's it's way too complicated. But needless to say it was a competitive relationship. And I , I often say to people , um, have fun with your endorphins, but don't, but don't serious decisions. Alright ,

Speaker 1:

Well, that's good. I don't think most people know that story,

Speaker 2:

But I'm laughing about it. It was, it was a , um, it was a sad relationship because he was really talented. This is, I guess, a good thing to say to people. Okay. He was really gifted as an athlete and I was not, and I was always told, Oh, you're just as jog or you're just a little , uh , but you're just a little plow horse. And I'm a thoroughbred. That was a comparison you always use . So I trained my brains out and because he was talented, he didn't think he needed. And he thought the world owed him a living. And we see this all the time with really talented people who think the world, not just in athletics and you just in everything. Yeah. And I think he was that way and everything. And , um, and it was heartbreaking. It was a real tortoise and a Hare story. And , um , and when I left, he was surprised. How could you be surprised? Wow . But anyway, I learned a lot from them as I always do.

Speaker 1:

So let's jump back to running itself because at the time you did this the longest, and when I looked this up, I knew generally the , the facts on this, but I was still stunned less than a mile in the Olympics was the longest women's race. Less than a mile 1500 meters.

Speaker 2:

No, in , in 1967, the longest Olympic race was only 800 people . I thought it was 1500 reinstated. The women's 819 60 in Rome after the 1928 Olympics where they threw the event out, because they said, this is too arguments for women. Wow . And they went to 400 meters. And then it's 60 in Rome, 800 meters in 7,200 .

Speaker 1:

And just less than 20 years later, 84 marathon is an Olympic event. Do you think, or have you heard feedback that your race was a tipping point for that? Obviously Joan Benoit shocked the world, you know, really put things on another map in 84, but something led to that. Some things led to that. You clearly were part of that.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. That was really my main career. When I, when I finished the Boston marathon of 67, I did become a better athlete. I explained that part of the story, but the create yeah . It's Boston again. So tailwind. Yeah. Well , well, Billy Rogers confessed to anyway, then I, the create the opportunity to cut a long story short. I began writing business proposals. I formed a small club in SU in Syracuse. I learned how to do marketing and managing and public relations and sponsorship proposals. And I did after I was at the Munich Olympics in 72, and I realized among all the terror and horror and everything else, that that's where I saw the , the commercialism and the sponsorship. And I said, my God, that's, what's going to make women's running happen. It's going to be Kodak. IBM, Mercedes-Benz voice you bank . It's not going to be a used car dealer trophy. So I wrote a proposal and I took it on a flyer, absolutely. On a flyer to Avon cosmetics, which was the world's largest cosmetics company at the time. And I packaged a whole series of women's races in a engaging and feminine way. Women only make it jewelry. Don't make it trophies, make lots of flowers, great food, and a competitive opportunity upfront, but anybody is welcome, right . And make it welcoming and non-intimidating, and that, and the women only thing I was pilloried for. Cause how could you integrated running do this? Because the IOC wasn't going to listen to us. If we had men in the race, because the IOC international Olympic committee was saying , uh , women will be paced by men. And I wanted to show that they could do it on their own. Um , and I mean, it was a heyday. Women were running great. It was Gretta bites and Rosa Moda , Ingrid Kristiansen , they were hot. And I thought, Hey, listen with that kind of performance. And then we got the medical data together to refute the old myth. And actually the data came back was fascinating. It showed that women have more endurance than men and that the marathon is a lot better for them than the shot. Okay. So why, why are we denying them this opportunity? So lobbying the IOC of , through John Holtz at the IAF . And then I went to Peter Ruber Ross at his gang out in Los Angeles. And we had, by that time, the requisite number of countries, we were, the Olympic requirement was 24 countries, three continents. And in our final , uh , not our final, but our big marathon in London, by the way, which closed London's streets for the first time in history for sports. And now it's one of the classics. I know it was a design model for the London marathon actually. Um, but in 1980 we had five continents in 27 countries. So the IOC voted us in for the Olympics in 1984. Wow . And it, to me, I'll tell you the truth. It was, it was a significant is giving women the right to vote in 1920, because it was to me, the physical equivalent of what we had accomplished socially and intellectually. Wow. So I thought I am when Benoit came into the state ,

Speaker 1:

What a moment? Oh,

Speaker 2:

It was dating ourselves

Speaker 1:

84. I , I, yeah, I was too . Yeah, no,

Speaker 2:

That's a big moment, but it was a moment. It was huge, but it wasn't, it wasn't the 95,000 people screaming in the stadium that was overwhelming. It was a 2.2 billion people watching television because everybody knows how far 42.2 kilometers is or 26 miles, 385. They are, as they've all walked or written a biker driven it or whatever. It's long. Okay . You know, get your sisters , you can watch a 400 meters. And I defy you to , to know the difference between , uh , 45 seconds and 49 cents , 10 cents a light it's a light year. Yeah , yeah. Right. Yeah. But everybody knows distance. Yeah.

Speaker 1:

Let's talk about two 61. Fearless. I've just looked in a little bit with this. I love what I've learned about the organization. Tell us what you're doing. Tell us how it came to be. It was founded in 2015, it's having a big impact. I want to hear more and I'm know our listeners do too.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. One in particular, who is a woman runner, who is a physician now an author also who gave up being a physician to join two 61 fearless because she was getting better outcomes from her women patients by putting them on a running program than she was with meds by old bib number suddenly, and along about 2013, right? 12, 13, the numbers starts becoming this kind of cult number, meaning fearless in the face of adversity. People were looking at that ubiquitous picture and saying, they tried to throw her out. All she wanted to do was run. And they said, it makes me feel fearless because they, to everybody, everybody listening today has been marginalized in one way or the other, you know, you've been told you're not good enough, or you're not cute or you're the wrong race or you're the wrong religion or you're too poor. You're not cool. You're overweight. You live on the wrong side of the tracks. We've heard it forever. And then you go run and you say, yeah, I can do anything. Yeah . I feel fearless. So we , we was, people were tattooing themselves even with two, 600 . That's when we got , I said, we got to take , uh , we got

Speaker 1:

Right. But I don't know what , I'm not going to be a tattoo artist. So what else can I do? Well, I didn't get it to that too. Yeah. But you weren't, you didn't want to be the artists with people who I ended up. I had Catherine do my tattoo.

Speaker 2:

So this is what we did this, we called it two 61. Fearless has started a nonprofit . And it's very simple. The premise is that when you run, you feel fearless because you feel empowered, but there are millions and millions of women, especially who are fearful and live in fearful situations. Whether it's because of society or

Speaker 1:

Yeah . Just restriction poverty. Yeah.

Speaker 2:

Or just, you never know what's going on domestically. I mean, she, this fearful woman could be your next door neighbor. You think everything's cool. Right. But if you, if you take her by the hand and say, okay, I'm going to give you an hour a week with the safe community. Uh , we're going to just start running and walking together. She starts to get that sense of empowerment physically. And then we back our program up with a really good educational program with empowerment talks in courses, they can take on empowerment and, and , and we give them the opportunity with the community clubs who've done with community clubs. And we have certified coaches with our, with our, with our certified program. And we should talk about this kind of certification to , to become qualified coaches and lead the group. And they can take a not , you can take a nonprofit and create a business out of it. There's absolutely no reason why you can't do that. Nobody's done it yet because we're too busy just trying to get women to get out and run, but it's going to have impact , um , very much like girls on the run. Yes .

Speaker 1:

Yeah. Our kids did that. Love, love, love that program.

Speaker 2:

Yes . We studied their model really carefully. We're great friends with the girls on the run people and we hope every one of those little girls grows up to be a two 61 woman. Yeah . So, so, you know, you, you, you may think a fearful woman is under a burka in Afghanistan, but I , I'm not, I'm not kidding you. She uses likely as your next door neighbor. And , and if we can simply give women an accessible and cheap method of empowerment, I mean, this is the way to do it is to be running. Honestly, it's , the involved are incredible. They're incredible. Not, not just Juliet the doctor, but, and we're global. Um, you know, we're what, four years old and we are already in , um, uh, 12 countries, five continents. Wow. So, yeah.

Speaker 1:

And is it a two 61 fearless.org? What's the best way for people to check out?

Speaker 2:

Of course. Yeah. Let me give you some publicity, two 61 fearless.org. Okay . And , uh , we'd love you to contribute and be a member or be seen to think about starting a club, taking our training program. We're a little restricted right now in the training program, simply because of the pandemic. Um , but we're still meeting some of us on officially , but also the clubs are going very strong and having great virtual meetings as well in the communities where they can't meet personally. Perfect .

Speaker 1:

We'll include a link in the description too , so people can easily access that. That'd be awesome. All right . So people are sitting out there, they're listening to this . They're going. Yeah. Yeah. Catherine is like this amazing person. It's really cool to hear her stories, but I just, I could never do something like that. You and I feel, we know that's not true, but what do you have to say? What , what can you do to encourage those folks that are coming in with that message in their heads saying, but I couldn't, she could. That's neat. And this doctor stuck , man . She's amazing. But, but I could never do something like that. What , what do you say to those ?

Speaker 2:

Okay. The two things one I already talked about physically, you know, I , I claim I'm an ordinary person. I actually am blessed with good health. Okay. And strength. Okay. That's true. But all of us can do much more physically than we ever met. We see it all the time. You know, if you're losing faith in human nature, go out and watch your marathon. You see cripples people, no arms, no legs. They're doing it. Okay. So that should be an inspiration for you to move. All right. You never underestimate yourself that way. But the other thing is we are surrounded by social injustice. We are surrounded by absolutely . And, and at the same time, talent is everywhere. It only deserves an opportunity. And, and all you have to do is give a helping hand to somebody reach out , um, and, and, and give an attaboy attagirl to kids, especially your own, keep encouraging them and motivating them. Let my dad get to me, but give yourself the opportunity. So you think, Oh , I can't possibly do that. I'm not talking about winning a gold medal up here. How about going around and doing your local 5k fun run, start small, start small and build your community and reach out to your friends, go get one or two of them together and say, Hey, why don't we do this? It doesn't have to be getting the women's marathon in the Olympic games that started with Arnie and me getting kicked out of the AAU and forming our own club in Syracuse, New York, where six people showed up on a Tuesday night. And finally it became a big club. And then that gave me the traction to , and the courage to take bigger steps. Every little step. We'll give you another one. Yeah . Start small. Gather your community, get your facts in the row . Educate yourself as much as possible and never, ever underestimate yourself.

Speaker 1:

Love it. Love it. Last question, Catherine . And thank you so much for doing this was so fun. So fun. So thanks for making this happen. Um, so you've lived this huge life of impact. I don't get the sense you're slowing down at all my friend. What are you currently focused on at the age of, I think 73 now, right? 74. And just tell us what, what's your journey involved now? What do you have? What's your vision? You, you, you've got a lot of energy excited. What what's coming down the path for you?

Speaker 2:

Well, when I, when I ran again in Boston in 2017, that was one of my biggest eye-openers because , um, up to that point, I had been telling him , cause I had done this. I , I say just , you're never too old to start your , but you're always too young to quit, you know? So, but that's Wally Bortz, his quote. He was a great gerontologist at , in California, but I was starting women running at 70, 75 80 when it occurred, when it happened to me and I, and I ran that race every mile got faster. I mean, I , I, you know, I said, okay, you know, this, this is the anti-age , uh , this is the aging antidote. Yeah . A lot of times when we age, I think people, Oh, they start feeling insecure or they've lost their mojo, their sexiness, their appeal, whatever. Honestly, people should realize that they've got more wisdom and more gifts to give and abilities to reach out than they ever imagined. So that, that is really important for me personally, I have a few setbacks. I don't, I don't get injured often. It's usually when I do something stupid And recently that happened and I'm recovering from that. But my goal actually is it's always good to put it out there. I really, really would love to run the Tokyo marathon in 2022 when, when the race is opening night , I think I could be Robbie 75 . And , um, and I , it's not because of my age, just because I've always wanted to run the children and then maybe I can squeeze in Chicago and then I've got my big six, but Hey , you know, here's the other thing that was, we don't know what running is running looks like. It's gonna look like, right . And, and a lot of people listening right now are going to be people who are going to make the changes or the adjustments in the sport. Right now, it , from my point of view is , uh , medically, I have felt for years, but a marathon event, as much as I loved it, being crowded was an epidemic waiting to happen because, well, look, we've got 50,000 people all using the same toilets. Uh , we're hugging each other. We're sweating and we're spitting. And for 26 miles, I mean, it's not exactly hygienic.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. Not a lot of social distancing going on New York or any other marathons

Speaker 2:

Or Boston or London. I mean his body to body. Right . And then we hug each other, you know, Oh , uh , and share cups of water, you know, not washing our hands too often. So those protocols are going to have to change somehow, but we can manage it. We're smart. We'll figure it out. It's going to be interesting to see what happens to Boston in October. And the vaccination is not the be-all end-all. I mean, this is only the beginning of a future of , uh , us really needing to save this planet, reduce our population , um , and clean up the mess and look to a healthier future. So we got to get really creative and we're going to have to work hard. And, and that's going to be, I think, a turning point for , for many, many people. And it could be a wonderful one. I can't imagine this is a defining moment for the current generation. Just as much as from my parents, for instance, it was world war II. Yeah . They , from this horrible thing can come amazing, amazing opportunities for positive future. And , um, it's it's I would, I would view it myself. I think there's a huge, exciting opportunity to make change. Right ? Yeah . Beautiful. Catherine , thank you so much. This is wonderful, Brad . Thank you. I enjoy it a lot. Thank you for having me.

Speaker 1:

How cool is that? And it's fun to have this episode hit the week that runners around the world. Traditionally think about the iconic Boston marathon. Hopefully next year, we can get that back on track. Thanks for tuning into the number one podcast for health and wellness coaching. Next week's episode features Dr. Kelly McGonigal, whose books include the willpower instinct and the upside of stress. I love her writing and you're going to love the insights she shares during our discussions. If you enjoy the podcast, by the way, you might also enjoy the YouTube coaching channel, which you can find via the link that's down below or youtube.com/coaching channel. Now let's go be a catalyst on this journey of life, making a positive difference in the world without burning ourselves out in the process. This is Dr. Bradford Cooper, the catalyst coaching Institute, make it a great rest of your week. And I'll speak with you soon on the next episode of the catalyst health, wellness performance coaching podcast, or maybe over on the YouTube coaching channel.