You Could Look It Up (written just before the New York City Marathon)
As Marathon Sunday approached in New York, it seemed like a good time to remember how things used to be for women. They were discouraged—and sometimes banned—from distance running, because:
They didn’t have the stamina that men did
Running might damage their reproductive systems
And so on. . . .
This all began to change as women challenged the rules that were supposedly in their best interests. Among many of these trailblazers, my own favorite is Kathrine Switzer, then a 20-year-old student at Syracuse University. She ran the Boston Marathon in 1967 under the name K. V. Switzer—not because she was trying to hide her gender, but because she thought her initials were cool. At the time, Boston officials limited women to races of one and a half miles!
Only two miles into the marathon, the officials realized that K. V. Switzer was a woman. A famous photo shows two of the race directors trying to grab her and force her out. But her male classmates from Syracuse warded them off, and she eventually finished the race, forcing the world to reconsider at least some of the myths surrounding women’s abilities, athletic and otherwise.
Whether you are running in New York on Sunday, or cheering from the sidelines, or doing your own quiet run in a park or on a country road alone or with friends, I wish you all the best. And I ask you to reconsider some of the ideas you have about yourself and your own running. Can’t seem to get your breathing going? Is there something you’d like to fix about your stride, but you can’t figure out what it is? Would you like to recover faster from injuries or maybe even prevent them? I hope that this blog will encourage you to examine how you do what you love to do, and I will be offering some hints on how the Alexander Technique can help you solve these problems.