March 21, 2019. Louisville, KY. – One of running’s most iconic figures, Kathrine Switzer will participate in her first ever Derby Festival race. Switzer was the first woman to officially run the Boston Marathon in 1967, and recently ran it again 50 years later in 2017. (The run was only 24 minutes slower than she did in her first marathon at age 20.) On Saturday, April 27, Switzer will run the Derby Festival’s Marathon Relay as member of the Humana Relay Team.
“I’m thrilled to team up with Humana to continue spreading awareness about the importance of active aging and the pursuit of healthy social, emotional, and physical habits,” said Kathrine Switzer. “With the relay you can train for as little as a 5K or 10K. Whether you’re an experienced runner or trying something new, I encourage everyone to come out and run with us.”
Humana is the title sponsor of the Derby Festival miniMarathon and Marathon, which mark the largest day of road racing in Kentucky. 2019 will be the 46th year for the miniMarathon and 18th year for the Marathon.
Switzer is an athlete, author, spokeswoman, commentator, and advocate. She will always be best known as the woman who challenged the all-male tradition of the Boston Marathon and became the first woman to officially enter and run the event in 1967. Throughout her career, Switzer has run 41 marathons. In 1975, her two-hour and 51-minute marathon in Boston was ranked sixth in the world and third in the United States. She won the New York City Marathon in 1974 and then, 43 years later, in 2017, she ran through the streets again and finished 2nd in her age group. She has run for 59 years. Switzer also advocates for women’s sports participation throughout the world and continues today with the creation of “261 Fearless”, a global non-profit movement that empowers women through running.
“We’re honored to have Kathrine Switzer, who has paved the way for so many female athletes, running with us in April,” said Mike Berry, Kentucky Derby Festival President and CEO. “Women have been participating in the Kentucky Derby Festival’s races since the mini started in 1974, and now make up more than 50% of our running field.”
The mini, Marathon and Relay all start simultaneously on April 27th at 7:30 am on Main Street near Slugger Field and will finish at Preston and Witherspoon streets. Registration is still open online at DerbyFestivalMarathon.com.
COVERAGE NOTE: Switzer will meet with runners and participate in a Norton Sports Health Training Program session tonight at 6:30 p.m. at Cherokee Park (Pavilion area near Hogan’s Fountain). Media are invited to interview Switzer at 6 p.m., prior to the training session. Please contact the Kentucky Derby Festival Press Office at (502) 741-7442 to coordinate.