LONDONDERRY — Kim Chaffee was watching television coverage of the Boston Marathon in 2016 when she saw Kathrine Switzer, a featured commentator, speak about her experience as the first female runner in the 1967 marathon.
Chaffee, 37, of Londonderry and an avid runner, was already having a go at writing children’s books, but she was suddenly struck with inspiration to tell Switzer’s story for a younger generation.
She wrote “Her Fearless Run: Kathrine Switzer’s Historic Boston Marathon”, an illustrated 40-page children’s book about Switzer’s marathon run.
The official launch of her first book will be marked by a kid-friendly reading and discussion at The Bookery in Manchester on Saturday at 11:15 a.m., followed by a number of other regional events.
Chaffee will also run in her first-ever Boston Marathon on April 15. She’s been training for the event for the past 16 weeks.
“I decided to jump into the deep end of the marathon pool and do Boston,” Chaffee said.
She will be running in support of Switzer’s noprofit organization 261 Fearless, which fosters women’s unity and empowerment through running clubs.
The part of the story that struck Chaffee was when, a few miles into the 1967 race, a marathon official tried to forcibly remove Switzer from the road, a moment that was immortalized in photographs.
“I never thought that someone might possibly tell me I couldn’t run because I was a female,” Chaffee said. “The story seemed so unreal to me, that that actually happened.”
She said she wants young girls and boys to learn how far we’ve come as a society and the importance of pushing through with what’s right for yourself even in the face of people telling you to stop.
“When I accomplish the goals I set for myself in running, it makes me feel more confident and capable, which translates to other areas of my life,” Chaffee said.
Chaffee is publishing the book through Page Street Kids, a small but fast-growing publishing house based in Salem, Mass., that distributes through Macmillan.
She partnered with Kristen Nobles at Page Street Kids, and editor Charlotte Wanger. Together, they agreed on bringing on artist Ellen Rooney to create the illustrations.
Additional book release events include an April 12 event at Runner’s World Pop-Up store in Boston (179 Newbury St.) at 1 p.m. with Rooney and Switzer; an event on April 20 at The Silver Unicorn Bookstore in Acton, Mass.; and on April 27 at Water Street Books in Exeter.