She put women’s running on the map what with nine New York Marathon wins including the inaugural running of the event. And there were her five World Cross-Country titles and a silver medal, behind American Joan Benoit Samuelson, in the first ever women’s marathon at the 1984 summer Olympics in Los Angeles.
Before Waitz, women’s long-distance competitions were somewhat of an afterthought. With her emergence came more attention to not only to the fact that women could race as far as men but also to women’s running in general.
Ever the accessible and personal spokesperson, Waitz inspired countless female and male runners. She leaves a tremendous legacy.