Switzer, her boyfriend, Tom Miller, and Briggs were two miles into the marathon when officials tried to evict her from the course. Their tactics were terrifying. In a rage, race director Jock Semple came lunging at her. He got his hands on her shoulders and screamed “Give me those numbers and get the hell out of my race!” The wild look in his eyes still haunts Switzer. “Seeing that face scared the s—- out of me,” she said.
Before Semple could rip off Switzer’s numbers, Miller, a 235-pound athlete (he was a football player and hammer thrower), laid a cross-body block on Semple, sending him to the side of the road in a heap. The entire sequence was captured on film by the press corps bus, riding just ahead of Switzer’s group.
Switzer kept running. Over the next 20 miles, she felt humiliated, then angry, then brushed it off. Semple was a product of his time, she thought. It was inconceivable to most men that women could run long distances without doing harm to themselves, their reproductive systems (a woman’s uterus might fall out, the thinking went) or their fragile psyches.