Rule Breaking Tips from 40 years ago

As a lifelong runner and four time marathon finisher,  I’ve always been intrigued by the stories of women and running, Growing up, the story of Wilma Rudolph was my favorite and I wrote countless reports on her as someone who was a role model. She became the first US woman to win three gold medals in the same 1960 Olympics. What makes her story unique is that she was paralyzed from polio until age of four, and required to wear an orthopaedic brace on her left leg until she was 11. There is was Zola Budd, the South African barefoot runner from the 1984 Olympics. I can easily digress.

But today, on the day of the Boston Marathon, I read yet another article about Katherine Switzer, who in 1967 attempted to run the Boston Marathon (the Boston Marathon did not officially allow women until 1972).


Ashland, MA, April 19, 1966: Kathy Switzer roughed up by Jock Semple during the 1966 Boston Marathon. Photo by Paul J. Connell/the Boston Globe via Getty Images     


People can debate who actually was the first woman to run the Boston Marathon, Kathy Switzer or Bobbi Gibb (I believe they both should get credit), but this recent Fast Company article entitled, “Four Rule Breaking Tips from the first woman to run the Boston Marathon, holds true no matter who it is and holds true today, in social media or even in general. In fact, many of the early social media adopters like Mark Zuckberg, Jack Dorsey and Biz Stone, Chad Hurley and Steve Chen adopted the same principles some 35-40 years later.

  1. Breaking Unwritten Laws Can be Revolutionary – there was no law at Harvard against using student photography or even posting people’s information online, yet no one had ever thought to do it before. And who ever heard of a small character count as a rule for posting anything?
  2. There will be Criticism. Tune it Out. – the hallmark of every great Original, entrepreneur or a person with passion is the ability to hear the criticism but still forge ahead.
  3. Consequences Can Turn into Opportunities. – Steve Jobs getting fired from Apple has now become known as his best opportunity in disguise.
  4. Share your Story and New Opportunities May Arise –one word: Youtube. How many stars have arisen from Youtubers? There is even a convention dedicated solely to youtubers and bloggers. There are big bucks to be made by sharing your story. I’m just waiting to see the new ads featuring the 2 brothers and sister from the recent “wisdom teeth zombie apocalypse prank.” They posted their video on a Thursday and by Tuesday of the next week, all three of them were on the Ellen Degeneres show.

So, cheers to all the women AND men who ran the Boston Marathon today and cheers to all the many rule breakers out there. I’m glad to see the rules for breaking rules can stand the test of time. Here’s hoping they continue to be observed so that more great opportunities can arise.

PS: Here is a picture of me finishing my first marathon in 2010. 🙂


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1 Response to Rule Breaking Tips from 40 years ago

  1. armour52 says:

    Hair all behind you. Too cute. Love this post.

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