Bellin Health Care Systems, Green Bay, Wisconsin

Bellin Women’s Half Marathon is First U.S. Partner Event for 261 Fearless

Global nonprofit aims to empower women through running

The inaugural Bellin Women’s Half Marathon on Sept. 26 has been named the first United States partner event for 261 Fearless, Inc., a global nonprofit community of female runners and walkers founded by women’s running legend Kathrine Switzer. 

261 Fearless is using running as a vehicle to empower women globally, reaching out to make them fearless through the creation of clubs, training opportunities, merchandising and events such as the 261 Women’s Marathon in Mallorca, Spain. But most of all, Switzer says, 261 Fearless is about creating a global community of female runners and walkers who are supporting and talking to each other, encouraging healthy living and a positive sense of self.

“I am so thrilled that the Bellin Women’s Half Marathon, in its inaugural race, is also our very first U.S. 261 Fearless partner event,” Switzer said. “It’s as if this bold new venture was meant to happen — total synchronicity! All over the world, women are the winners as they broader their running network and share their fearless hopes and determination.”

Runners and non-runners alike may be familiar with Switzer thanks to the iconic 1967 photo of a Boston Marathon race official trying to forcibly remove her from the course. Switzer — and her nonprofit namesake bib number 261 — went on to finish the event, becoming the first woman to officially run the Boston Marathon. She has spent the decades since working as a champion for women’s running, and has become both an Emmy Award-winning TV commentator and a bestselling author. On Friday, Sept. 25, she will serve as the keynote speaker for the Bellin Women’s Half Marathon Women’s Inspiration Dinner at the KI Convention Center in Green Bay.

“Kathrine Switzer is a true icon of our sport and a role model for women everywhere,” said Bellin Women’s Half Marathon Race Director Linda Maxwell. “We were thrilled to secure her as the keynote speaker for our Women’s Inspiration Dinner event, and we are ecstatic now that our race is an official part of the 261 Fearless movement. What an incredible way to involve women in getting active and working toward a healthier tomorrow.”

The inaugural Bellin Women’s Half Marathon kicks off at 8 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 26 at Bay Shore Park in New Franken. The 13.1-mile course winds its way along the bay to finish at a favorite Green Bay destination, Bay Beach Amusement Park.

For more information about the Bellin Women’s Half Marathon, visit www.bellinwomenshalf.com. To learn more about 261 Fearless, go to www.261fearless.org.