Kathrine Switzer told the world’s marathon and running experts that women comprise 53% of all runners in America, and so now outnumber men, at the 19th World Congress of AIMS in Prague, Czech Republic (10-12 May 2012).
Kathrine Switzer is well known as the woman who changed history when she covertly entered the Boston Marathon in 1967. Women were not allowed to run in the race and an event official tried to forcibly remove Kathrine from the race. Her then boyfriend, running alongside her, thwarted the attempt and she became the first woman to complete the Boston Marathon.
The picture of the incident was listed as one of Time-Life’s “100
Photos that Changed the World.” Kathrine Switzer commented: ‘women runners now outnumber men in America; women now represent 53% of runners. Women feel empowered by running and love the feeling of community and good health that comes with a running lifestyle.’
The AIMS Congress, in addition to discussing ways of encouraging more women from around the world to take up running, featured subjects such as disaster recovery at events. This included a presentation by Richard Donovan from Galway, Ireland who is race director of the North Pole Marathon. Part of Richard’s planning involves avoiding polar bear attacks. The terms and conditions of the race include a disclaimer warning of the possibility of, apart from polar bear attacks, hypothermia, the loss of fingers, toes and other body parts.
The AIMS Congress represents 328 races in over 100 countries and saw the following representatives elected in Prague to the Board of Directors:
New directors elected:
Dave Cundy – New Vice President
|Bruno Boukobza Organiser of the Marathon des Alpes Maritimes-Nice Cannes, France|| Mark Milde
Race Director of the Berlin Marathon
| Gary Boshoff
The Chief Executive of the famous South African event The Comrades Marathon
Five races/venues bid for the right to stage the 20th World Congress of AIMS. The winning bid was from the Comrades Marathon so the next AIMS Congress will be in Durban, South Africa on 28-31 May 2014.
AIMS President Paco Borao comments: ‘The marathon and running movement continues to grow around the world contributing to a healthy lifestyle and more and more bringing people together through sport creating new friendships across borders.
The Tokyo Marathon alone attracts applications from 280,000 people. It is very pleasing to see the increase in women taking up running and we will continue to work to encourage even more women to enjoy the benefits of the world’s original and most affordable sport.’
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The new AIMS board: Back Row left to right – Gary Boshoff, Keisuke Sawaki, Guy Morse, Fernando Jamarne, Bruno Boukobza, Theodosis Livitsanos, Front Row left to right