Kathrine Switzer became a running icon in the 1967 Boston Marathon when she became the first woman to officially run the race.
Now, her DNA has been made into a fragrance by Equinox aptly named “Eau de Blood, Sweat and Tears.”
“It’s a once in a lifetime experience, and I would say it’s moving, slightly surreal and also quite amusing,” says Switzer, 71, about the fragrance, which is part of Equinox‘s The Commitment Collection. “I am moved by the idea that they wanted to take such a personal story and incorporate it into an item that represents a positive message for all.”
Switzer also acknowledges it is a little bizarre to think of her DNA being bottled up. “Plenty of smells in a marathon are not at all pleasant, so I am curious at the outcome!” she says. “I was really enthralled with the concept of making commitment a tangible thing.”
While participating in the ’67 marathon, an official tried to pull off her bib, and Switzer’s then-boyfriend pushed him away. Switzer continued the race, finishing in four hours and 20 minutes and photos taken of the incident made newspaper headlines around the world.
“Sometimes the worst things in your life become the best things. When the angry official attacked me in that first race, it was a frightening, humiliating moment,” says Switzer, who was 20 at the time. “But it was also radicalizing. It made me realize that people didn’t believe in women’s capabilities, so I was determined to finish the race no matter what, even on my hands and knees if I had to, to prove women could do it.”
After the marathon, Switzer continued paving the way for other women and stayed committed to creating “opportunities of empowerment for women through running,” she adds.
Looking back, she now has an “enormous sense of gratitude” and is proud of how far she and other women have come.
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“I’m happy at my age now to think I am pretty darn fearless,” says Switzer. “I’m delighted that my old bib number—261—that the official tried to pull off of me 50 years ago has grown into a non-profit program and community of women called ‘261 Fearless,’ who use running to empower themselves.”