LONDON, April 18 (Xinhua) -- Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to race in the Boston Marathon in 1967, has been named as the official starter of the women's race and the World Para Athletics Marathon World Cup race at this year's London Marathon.
Switzer, 71, entered the Boston Marathon using just her initials, and became known worldwide when a race official tried and failed to forcibly remove her from the competition.
Switzer finished the race and proved to the world that women could run the 42.195-kilometer distance, paving the way for every woman who has run a marathon since.
She will start the London Marathon's elite wheelchair races at 08:55 on Sunday, followed by the World Para Athletics Marathon World Cup races for ambulant athletes at 09:00 and the women's elite race at 09:15.
Switzer will then join more than 40,000 runners behind the start line as she gets ready to run the London Marathon for the first time. Switzer, who won the 1974 New York City Marathon, has been a campaigner and advocate for women's distance running since her barrier-breaking run in Boston.
This year's London Marathon will be the first ever to include two women who have run quicker than 2 hours 18 minutes, while four in the line-up have broken the 2:20:00 barrier and seven have finished inside 2:22:00.
Among them will be the defending champion, Mary Keitany, who's aiming to break Paula Radcliffe's world record of 2:15:25, and Ethiopia's triple Olympic track champion, Tirunesh Dibaba.
The men's race includes a trio of distance running greats. Olympic marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge is going for his third London Marathon victory. Ethiopia's world record-breaking track legend, Kenenisa Bekele, and Britain's four-time Olympic champion Mo Farah, will also be competing at the event.