On an April morning in 1967, Kathrine Switzer ate a late breakfast of bacon, eggs, pancakes and toast. The Boston Marathon wasn't due to begin until noon, so she had plenty of time to get to the starting line.
When the time came, she pinned the number 261 to her chest and started running through the
Boston streets with her boyfriend, coach and friend in tow. Then, in a surprising contrast to the crowd's cheers, she was attacked by a race official who'd noticed her ponytail and lipstick.
More from The Conversation:
The Boston Marathon bombing trial: not a question of guilt or innocence but life or death
Exercise more in 2018 – it really is good for your heart
Women's soccer shows how far we've come since Title IX – and what battles remain
At this time, the Boston Marathon was a men's-only race, and Switzer wasn't exactly welcome in the field. After Switzer's boyfriend warded off the race official by tackling him, Kathrine (registered as K. V. Switzer) crossed the finish line. Her efforts helped make the sport of endurance running more welcoming to women in the decades that followed.
"I wasn't running Boston to prove anything," she later wrote. "I was just a kid who wanted to run her first marathon."
Today — 51 years after Switzer's run — more than 10,000 women from around the world will compete in the Boston Marathon. The 42.2 kilometre (26.2 mile) run requires competitors to meet strict entry requirements, which means these women are some of endurance running's fastest professional and recreational athletes.
As a marketing scholar, I study how gender and the body are represented in contemporary advertising. So, while the athletic world shifts its attention to Boston's runners, I'm thinking about what those runners see in their social media newsfeeds or in the pages of the running magazines piled upon their nightstands.