March 9, 2018 / 8:47 AM / 16 days ago

Pioneering marathon runner Switzer to race in London

(Reuters) - Kathrine Switzer will compete in the London Marathon for the first time in April, the American said, 51 years after becoming the first woman to complete the Boston Marathon.

Women were barred from running the Boston Marathon before Switzer challenged the ban, competing under her initials in 1967.

Switzer, who ran in Boston with the bib number 261, gained widespread recognition for completing the race, in a time of four hours and 20 minutes, despite an official’s attempt to remove her from the course.

“The streets of London have been an important part of women’s running history as well as women’s rights,” Switzer said in a statement released by London Marathon organizers.

Switzer helped stage the Avon International Women’s Marathon in London in 1980, which helped convince the International Olympic Committee to sanction the women’s marathon at the Los Angeles Games in 1984.

“Ever since then I’ve wanted to run it also, but have been too busy. Now is the time and I am so honored and excited to be out there,” she added.

Organizers said Switzer, 71, would be given the same bib number for the London race on April 22.

Reporting by Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford

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