On Sunday, tens of thousands of people will compete in the annual New York City Marathon; amongst them Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to officially run the Boston Marathon, and supermodel Karlie Kloss — who will be running a marathon for the first time.
Switzer and Kloss are joining four other marathon runners in Adidas' new campaign, "Fearless AF," which aims to break down stereotypes about female runners.
"I was so certain, even at 20 in that first Boston Marathon, that other women would love to run if they only had the opportunity to try," Switzer tells Refinery29. "Now I am seeing that running is totally transformational for women — what we've done is created a social revolution, well beyond running itself, that has changed their lives quite fundamentally."
Kloss, who says she only recently began self-identifying as a runner, began running as a way to maintain a consistent routine during her travels, and she's looking forward to her first race.
"All I want to do is cross the finish line, doesn’t matter how many hours it takes," she says.
On Wednesday, Adidas released a video featuring each of the runners, celebrating the ways in which they've changed the rules for women in sports.
Their stories are at the heart of the campaign, which honors women who've created their own paths to compete in the big race.
Jen Rhines, an Olympic runner who defied stereotypes by setting two U.S. Masters records after turning 40, says that getting involved with Fearless AF was a way to celebrate challenging conventional wisdom when it comes to age and sports.
Mary Keitany, the second-fastest female marathoner in history, placed third in the race in 2010 and 2011. At the time, she said, "I thought, Maybe I will not come again, because it was tough and it was my first marathon." In 2014, Keitany came back to the city and won first place.
Robin Arzon, an ultra marathon runner who left law school to pursue running professionally, says she got involved in the campaign because, "I wanted to tell a story about how extraordinary people are walking around every day doing monumental things."
Not that running always has to be a monumental act — for Girls Run NYC founder Jessie Zapo, running is about fostering a community and pushing yourself physically and mentally.
"Running is empowering because you’re pushing your personal boundaries, learning about yourself," she says.
If you happen to be in New York City, stop by Adidas' NYC flagship store between November 1 and November 6 to participate in your own manifesto in the photo booth and share it on social media using #takecharge, @adidasrunning, @adidaswomen, and @adidasnyc. We promise you don't have to be a runner to take part.
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