AIMS, the Association of International Marathons and Distance Races (AIMS) is delighted to announce the renowned speakers and members of the international running community Kathrine Switzer and her husband Roger Robinson as the keynote speakers with their presentation “Women in Running” at the 19th World Congress of AIMS, this year taking place in Prague between the 10-12 May 2012. 

“Women in Running” will be an ideal chance for race directors to learn how they can increase female participation in their events.

Kathrine rose to prominence when she became the first woman to ‘enter’ the Boston Marathon in 1967, when the event was a male only race. During the race, race officials tried to remove her when they realised she had entered. With the support and protection of her fellow competitors, she was able to complete the race. The photo of this incident was shown around the World, and would later become one of Time-Life’s “100 Photos that Changed the World.”

Kathrine and Roger will present their session on one of the main Congress topics - “Women in Running” (other topics include – Innovative Technologies, Sponsors sourcing, Disaster recovery), bringing their unique insights and expertise together in a complementary presentation.

Kathrine Switzer, a recent inductee into the USA National Women’s Hall of Fame, is the original “marathon woman”. She has become the most active and effective pioneer of running for women. Since 1967 Switzer went on to run 39 marathons around the World (winning the New York Marathon in 1974), create the Avon International Running Circuit of women’s only races in 27 countries with over a million participating between 1978 to present day and was the only female founding member of AIMS. Switzer is now an Emmy award-winning TV commentator and has covered the Olympic Games, World and National Championships as well as the New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles and every televised edition of the Boston Marathon (34 consecutive years). In 2010, she ran the Athens Classic Marathon, participating in the celebration of the 2,500 years anniversary from the Marathon Battle, being also one of the top champions that highlighted the race by their presence.

She is a dynamic public speaker, journalist and author of three books, including her memoir, Marathon Woman. Other books include 26.2 Marathon Stories, co-authored with Roger Robinson and Running and Walking for Women Over 40.


Roger Robinson is an expert speaker, author, journalist, and TV commentator on running. He is an authority on the contemporary sport and its long history and its literature. Emeritus professor, and formerly Academic Vice-Chancellor of Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, he is now senior writer and columnist for “Running Times” magazine in USA. His work there has won three American running journalism awards since 2005, and is praised for being substantial, vivid and entertaining. Roger represented England and later New Zealand, won world masters titles, and set masters records at the Boston, New York, Vancouver, and other marathons, with best times of 2:18:44 at age 41 and 2:28:01 at age 50.

The World Congress of AIMS marks AIMS 30th year of running history, with the event being held in the city of Prague in the Czech Republic between the 10-12 of May at the Hilton Prague hotel. The Congress will give race organisers the chance to promote their races to over 36,000 international runners and visitors at the Marathon Sport Expo. The weekend wraps up with the Volkswagen Prague Marathon on 13 May, which both starts and finishes in the world-renowned Old Town Square.