On Saturday, April 27, 13,000 runners lined up at the start of the Humana Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon, miniMarathon, and relay. Some were running their first marathon, half marathon or even race, and some were running for the first time in Kentucky. Joining them for her inaugural Louisville race was Kathrine Switzer, an icon in running for being the first woman to officially run the Boston Marathon in 1967.
Switzer completed the Boston Marathon again on her 50th anniversary in 2017 at age 70 within minutes of her finishing time at 20-years-old. It was her 2017 run that connected her to Humana, and she began working with the health and well-being company to promote active aging and the pursuit of healthy social, emotional and physical habits, such as running.
For the Kentucky Derby Festival races, Switzer was part of a Humana relay team. After firing the canon to start the race, Switzer reported to her relay exchange point to complete a 5K (3.1 mile) leg. Her portion of the race took her around the infield of historic Churchill Downs. Switzer’s teammates were Lexi Bohn, Melissa Hooper, Kourtlee Gravil, Tova Levin, Kate Marx, Carolyn Ross, Emily Thomas, Martha Velasquez, and Gayle Wiegel.
During the pre-race Expo, at the start line, and after completing her leg, Switzer greeted fans, listened to their running stories, and offered advice and encouragement. She is an incredible ambassador for community and health, both of body and mind.
Humana has supported the Kentucky Derby Festival for seven years because of the event’s alignment with Humana’s mission to support whole-person health throughout an individual’s lifetime.