Famous marathon runner joins Empire State Senior Games in Cortland

Runners participate in a 10K race as part of the 2018 Empire State Senior Games, which were hosted in Cortland this week (Hannah Bistocchi/Cortland Voice)

CORTLAND, N.Y. — This year’s Empire State Senior Games were held at SUNY Cortland, where a group of men and women ages 50 and over competed in a 5K and 10K, respectively, in order to qualify to compete in the National Senior Games.

Kathrine Switzer, who was the first woman to officially compete in the Boston Marathon, was in attendance, in support of her partnership with Humana, a national Health and Wellbeing Company, and their mission to inspire seniors to live more active and healthy lifestyles. Humana is a sponsor of the National Senior Games.

“I partnered with Humana because you’re never too old or too big or too slow to compete in events like these. I’ve been running my whole life. It’s given me everything: my health, my fun, my sense of spirituality, and so I wanted to let others know it’s never too late for them,” said Switzer.

Kathrine Switzer

Switzer, who splits her time between her homes in the Hudson Valley and New Zealand, only recently started competing in the National Senior Games, which will be held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, later this year, for those who qualified in this week’s Empire State Games.

Last year, the National Senior Games were held in Birmingham, Alabama. The National Senior Games is the largest multi-sport qualifying games for seniors in the nation.

In addition to Switzer’s partnership with Humana, she also founded a global non-profit organization called 261 Fearless. Established in 2015, the group aims to empower women and unite them through the formation of different local running clubs, education programs, communications platforms and social running events, according to their website.

Switzer was also influential in adding women’s marathons to the Olympics.

Switzer ran a 55 minute and 41 second 10K on Friday. She won her division, completed her goal of qualifying for the National Senior Games in her home state, and said, as she crossed the finish line, “That was the fastest 10K I’ve run in three years.”

Switzer competes in different marathons and events each year. She is currently training for the Berlin Marathon.