261 Fearless

Credit: Boston Herald
Empowering women since 1967
For this year's women’s day, we sat down with the president and co-founder of 261Fearless, Edith Zuschmann, to talk about her and Kathrine Switzer's inspiring story.

In 1967, Kathrine Switzer made history by becoming the first woman to finish the Boston Marathon, despite male race officials physically trying to remove her from the race (Female runners were not allowed at all until 1972). Her determination and fearlessness inspired and paved the way for female runners globally.
Credit: Boston Herald
“She was confronted with the fact that people, experienced her bib number and the story behind it, with something that made them more brave. More fearless”

One of these women was her friend Edith Zuschmann.

Ten years ago, Edith was trying to invite more women to join her on her daily runs but quickly realized that performance was a significant barrier for many. So, she came up with an idea: to form a running group where community, not performance, was the focus.
At this moment she and Kathrine had been dear friends for over 20 years. While Edith’s idea was about to come to life, Kathrine told her that people had started to approach her saying “your BIB number, it makes me so brave. I always put it on my shoulder whenever I run a race”. Kathrine was confronted with the fact that people experienced her BIB number 261 from Boston Marathon and the story behind it as something that made them feel more brave. More fearless.
Credit: Horst von Bohlen / 261 Fearless
Running with 261 Fearless isn’t just about exercise. It’s about connecting with like-minded people who are on the same journey as you. It’s about breaking down barriers.
Edith said to her “Hey Kathrine, this is powerful. Would you mind if I name the running group after your BIB number?”

And so, 261 Fearless was born. Named after Kathrine Switzer's BIB number-  261 has become a symbol of courage and determination for women everywhere. The organization's goal is to empower women through running, to break down barriers and to build a global community of support and inspiration.

When you join 261 Fearless, you'll find a welcoming community of women who share your passion for running. It doesn't matter if you're a beginner or an experienced runner, if you're fast or slow, if you run every day or once a week. What matters is that you're part of a supportive network of women who believe in each other and who want to help each other succeed.

As the organization grew, 261 Fearless quickly realized that they needed to bring this concept to other countries, and develop an educational program. They needed leaders locally who could guide, grow and empower their own communities. Together with women all over the world 261 Fearless created a global network. This was the birth of the Global 261 Fearless Inc. Organization.

“We have been educating women all over the globe to bring 261 to the local communities and form these local clubs and to help women take their first running step or even their thousand. It’s about creating a safe running space for women, whatever that means in that specific country. We have gotten a deeper understanding for that In each community, each country, and each continent, safety can mean something very different.”, says Edith.
The 261 educational program is the heart of the organization.  As of now, 261 Fearless has 19 clubs in 13 countries on 5 continents with over 5000 members. Leading these groups are over 250 women from 23 countries, speaking 17 languages. Inspiring numbers that are continuing to grow.
So, whether you're looking to start running, to connect with other female runners, or to find inspiration and support, 261 Fearless will welcome you with open arms. Make sure to pay a visit to their website below and become a part of their growing movement.