Her Fearless Run

Written By: Kim Chaffee

Illustrated by: Ellen Rooney

For Ages: 7 years and up

Language: English

Topics Covered: Feminism, History, Women in Sports, Trailblazer, Boston, Marathon Running, Independent Thought, Own Voices.


If you live anywhere in New England (like I do) you’re familiar with the Boston Marathon. In Massachusetts, it’s even a holiday! Her Fearless Run is about Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to run the marathon.

When Kathrine was a child in the later 1950’s, she was seen as most peculiar for her love of running. Strict gender norms dictated that girls and women didn’t exercise or get sweaty. Kathrine couldn’t even run with a team in school until college, even though the college team at Lynchburg was the rarity in allowing girls to run with the team (there certainly wasn’t a girls team) let her run with them while she was still in high school. When Kathrine met Arnie Briggs, he was the volunteer team coach at Syracuse and he ran with her when the other running team members wouldn’t run with her. During this time Kathrine became interested in running the marathon and began to train.

On the day of the race, she picked up her number and began the race. But it certainly wasn’t easy. When race officials realizes K.V. Switzer was Kathrine (despite submitting a physical form with her full name) they attempted to rip her race numbers off her sweatsuit while she ran. Kathrine persevered, and finished the race! This book is interesting not only because it’s true, but also that Kathrine ran the marathon again in 2017 for the 50th anniversary of her feat with members of her running foundation she started 261 Fearless. After the story is an extensive author’s note giving more details about Kathrine, and women running the marathon today. This is a wonderful story for your shelf about the importance of perseverance and blazing your own trail!

This book was kindly sent to us by Page Street Kids, but all opinions are our own!

Kim Chaffee

Kim grew up with a talent for arguing (just ask her parents), so naturally she wanted to be a lawyer and entered college as an economics major.  Sounds like a real interesting person to be writing picture books for kids, eh? Well, shortly after Kim’s ECON 401 class began, she realized that this was not the path for her and quickly found the way to the education building on campus. Kim spent the next five years earning a BA in history and a Masters degree in education and went on to become, what her students would describe as, the best second grade teacher ever.

Ellen Rooney

Ellen Rooney is an illustrator, designer, and artist. She’s from the state of Massachusetts, but now lives in the southern Okanagan Valley in British Columbia. Her first picture book as illustrator, Her Fearless Run, was published in April, 2019. Ellen is busy working on more!

Ellen loves graphic shapes, textured colour, printmaking, drawing outdoors, painting. Her hidden art powers are released when cutting up paper. As a designer, her superpower is x-ray vision: if Ellen stares at dense information, she can see its lovely skeleton just waiting to be shown to the world. Ellen thinks this is why she really love interpretive design (stuff like museum exhibits and nature trails). Or, maybe she’s just a big nerd. Who can say?

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