Being a pioneer takes persistence and stamina. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun. This week, the first woman to complete the Boston Marathon did it again. Fifty years ago, Katherine Switzer covertly competed in the all-male race. That time, she narrowly eluded being man-handled out of running by race officials (see photo above). This time, 70-year old Katherine didn’t have to disguise who she was. She proudly pinned on the same #261 and ran alongside everyone else, men and women alike.
Women have officially been able to enter the Boston Marathon since 1972. Many credit Katherine Switzer with helping make that happen. I admire her, and I love her credo: “Have fun. Be Fearless.”
That’s a philosophy I’ve always aspired to as well. Someone once told me that FEAR is an acronym for “False Expectations Appearing Real.” Every day, we face potential obstacles to achieving our goals. Some are put there by others. Some by society as a whole. But none are greater than the false expectations that we can impose on ourselves.
I was lucky. I grew up in a household that believed one’s potential for success was not determined by one’s gender. Not everyone was so lucky.
In the latest issue of Light Reading, it was announced that I was included among the finalists for this year’s Leading Light for the Most Inspiring Woman in Comms. I am honored, especially since the criteria include “blazing their own path, pulling up other women along their way, advocating for diversity and inclusion, mentoring, speaking up and more.”
In the article, it’s said that I have helped pave the way for other women by encouraging them to embrace unconventionality, immerse themselves in the industry and create their own environment to minimize obstacles and reach the top. I am a strong proponent of embracing your unconventionality. It has certainly worked for me. (If you’d like to read the article, you can find the link here).
We can only aspire to be as fearless as Katherine Switzer and all those who have gone before us. I hope we can have some fun along the way, too.