About 261 Fearless

261 Fearless – We Empower Women Through Running

Historic photo of Kathrine Switzer being attacked by an official at the 1967 Boston Marathon for participating as a woman

The 261 Fearless Moment

The story of 261 began on the streets of Boston in 1967 when a young Kathrine Switzer, wearing bib number 261 in the Boston Marathon, was attacked on the course, simply for being a woman. In this moment, she decided to face her fear and keep running. Step after step, mile after mile, she felt growing confidence and became the first woman to officially complete the Boston Marathon. Her 261 Fearless Moment inspired Kathrine Switzer and Edith Zuschmann to establish a global women’s running network that helps women to find their own 261 Fearless Moment.

Women running and having fun

The Non-Profit Organization

Kathrine Switzer (Board Chair) and Edith Zuschmann (CEO & President) founded the US-based 501c3 global non-profit organization 261 Fearless Inc. in 2015. A global team of women and men are working on projects that enable women to take personal responsibility for healthy and sustainable change within their lives. The organization is funded by donations, corporate supporters, private and corporate contributors and program fees. Today, 261 Fearless offers women’s education and women’s running opportunities for women to discover their self-worth and potential and make choices to control their lives. We unite and support each other within our global social running network encouraging healthy living, a positive sense of self and fearlessness.

Women supporting each other

Our Core Values

All Programs under the umbrella of 261 Fearless observe the following values:

  • We believe in women’s education as key to women’s empowerment
  • We support women to build self-esteem and become fearless
  • We embrace the social, enjoyable, non-competitive and non-judgmental side of running
  • We believe in life-long, healthy running
  • We are a safe and secure global running network, welcoming all women regardless of ability, body-type, ethnicity, religious background, socio-economic status, and sexual orientation
  • We are experts in women’s health and women’s running

Energetic group of diverse women from 261 Fearless Club celebrating, wearing athletic gear and raising their fists in a gesture of empowerment and solidarity in support of women running

How We Empower Women

Our Programs use running and education as vehicles for women’s empowerment. We offer:


Impact on Women’s Empowerment

  • We improve participants’ physical and mental health by offering regular and easily accessible woman running clubs
  • We clarify misconceptions about women’s running and physical activity in our high-quality education
  • We break down barriers of geography and isolation by increasing community connections
  • We support participants in developing leadership skills they use far beyond 261 in their professional and personal lives

Find out more about our programs

261 and 261 Fearless are trademark-protected brands, with registrations in the United States and throughout the world. Please notice: Any use of these brands without the express written authorization from 261 Fearless, Inc. for each such use is strictly prohibited.

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