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'It's just putting one foot in front of the other' - Boston Marathon legend hopes to inspire female runners with new global initiative

Female running legend Kathrine Switzer is bringing her global "261 Fearless" initiative to Kiwi shores with the aim of helping women push the boundaries in the sporting world.

Kathrine Switzer's 261 Fearless group wants to encourage more women to pick up running. Source: 1 NEWS

Switzer has founded the 261 Fearless organisation in order to inspire women to run, setting up clubs across the globe - including six in New Zealand - aimed at seeing more females take up the sport.

Speaking to 1 NEWS, Switzer explained the idea behind her initiative.

"It's not just running - it's just putting one foot in front of the other - creating the community of women," Switzer said.

"(It's) not about getting faster or competing in marathons, it's about coming together and sharing (that) they're fearless.)

Switzer, 70, was the first woman to officially run in the Boston Marathon in 1967, with officials trying to stop her participation due to rules at the time forbidding female competitors.

Offical Jock Semple attempted to remove Switzer's bib - number 261, the number given to her organisation, 261 Fearless - before she completed the race.

"He attacked me and tried to take my number off of me, I kept the number and finished the race - but my life was completely changed," she said.

"Fifty years later, that bib number has come to mean fearless in the face of adversity. Totally organically, people were telling me 'that makes me feel fearless'."

"So, we harnessed this number, created 261 Fearless - a non-profit that goes globally to women around the world - inspiring them to put one foot in front of the other with the simple act of running and feel that same empowerment and fearlessness that many of us feel from the bib number."

Switzer says that while her initiative has been well received, there has been roadblocks and setbacks in trying to establish a global initiative.

"It's been very easy to get women on board in the charity, because anybody who runs understands that sense of empowerment."

"But it's been not so easy in creating the clubs, because it is difficult for women to take the time to create an organisation, to create a non judgmental environment - but we train you."

Still, Switzer encourages women to get on board with her global movement, hoping to inspire New Zealanders among many others to simply give running a go.

"We're beginning 261 Fearless all over New Zealand, in Australia and the rest of the South Pacific."

"It's going to be a really, really amazing movement, and we invite women to join us, take our training programme and really pay it forward with your own fearlessness to other women who maybe have no opportunities whatsoever."

Click here for more information about 261 Fearless.