Inaugural East Devon marathon partners with global movement, 261 Fearless, to champion women’s running

Organisers of Women Can Marathon with Olympian Jo Pavey (L - R: Pauline Beare, Jo Earlam, Jo Pavey a

Organisers of Women Can Marathon with Olympian Jo Pavey (L - R: Pauline Beare, Jo Earlam, Jo Pavey and Peg Wiseman) - Credit: Archant

Women Can Marathon through Sid and Otter Valleys on May 28, set to mark historic day that changed the future of the sport and paved the way for others

A woman, listed only as K. Switzer of Syracuse, found herself about to be thrown out of the normally

A woman, listed only as K. Switzer of Syracuse, found herself about to be thrown out of the normally all-male Boston Marathon when a husky companion, Thomas Miller of Syracuse, threw a block that tossed a race official out of the running instead, April 19, 1967 in Hopkinton, Mass.(AP PHOTO) - Credit: Boston Herald

Organisers of the inaugural East Devon marathon are ‘honoured’ to be named the first UK partner of a global movement championing women’s sporting rights.

More than 200 people have now signed up to take part in the 26.2 mile race through the Sid and Otter Valleys on May 28, and the event – that aims to encourage females of all ages to be active – looks set to be a resounding success.

The Women Can Marathon will start in Tipton St John and was inspired by the story of Kathrine Switzer, who defied protocol to become the first woman to run the Boston Marathon in 1967 and went on to become a strong advocate for empowerment and change in the sport.

Kathrine founded 261 Fearless – so-called because it was the number she was wearing in Boston - as a non-profit social movement that is now an official partner of the East Devon event.


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Race administrator and Sidmouth Running Club member Jo Earlam said: “What Kathrine Switzer has achieved for women’s endurance running is truly remarkable. As a keen marathon runner, I thought what better way of celebrating her legacy than further empowering more women to run a marathon.

“We’re thrilled to be joining forces with 261 Fearless, and honoured to have Kathrine’s personal backing for this unique and special event.”

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The launch of the Women Can Marathon in Tipton St John will mark 50 years since the historic run of 1967 that paved the way for female runners being allowed to enter.

Kathrine said: “Events such as the Women Can Marathon and 261 Fearless are changing women’s lives. I want to thank the organisers so sincerely for honouring me at this first event.”

The Women Can marathon is also set to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Tipton St John Playing Field.

Organisers hope to make it an inclusive event and are appealing for volunteers to take on various roles.

Race director Pauline Beare said: “The response we’ve had ever since we announced the event has been incredible.

“We’d like to thank everyone who has volunteered to help on the day - without them, the Women Can marathon wouldn’t be possible. But, we still have volunteer roles to fill, particularly marshals. It’s a great way for the guys to get involved if they have a family member, partner or friend running in the marathon. All volunteers will get a marked memento of the day.”

The event is also open to Nordic walkers and teams of runners.

For more information about the marathon and to sign up, visit www.womencan.co.uk.

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