female runners have as complete a resume
as Grete Waitz. Her career
spans all of running's disciplines, from
track and cross-country to road racing and
marathoning – in each she has excelled.
She is known throughout the world as a nine
time winner of the New York City Marathon.
No other runner, male or female, comes close
to accomplishing this feat. Waitz's running
career started much earlier than her highly
publicized wins in the United States.
Waitz grew up in Oslo, Norway. Through her
teen years she won national junior titles
in the 400 and 800 meters. At age 17, she
set the European junior record in the 1,500
meters with a time of 4:17. In 1974, Waitz
won a bronze medal at the European Championships
at the metric mile distance.
The next year, Waitz raced the 3,000 meters
and set a world record with a time of 8:46.6.
By the end of 1975, Waitz was ranked number
one in the world in both the 1,500 and 3,000.
In 1977, Waitz won a gold medal in the 3,000
meters in the inaugural World Cup meet.
In 1978, an invitation arrived from New
York City Marathon co-founder and director,
Fred Lebow. Waitz won the marathon and set
a new world record with a time of 2:32:30.
The race proved to be a turning point for
Waitz' career. She would return to New York
and win an unprecedented nine times, in
'78, '79, '80, '82, '83, '84, '85, '86 and
'88. She set world records in '78, '79 and
Waitz continued to compete in track and
cross-country and won five world cross-country
championships. In 1984, she competed in
the first women's marathon in the Olympic
Games. She took home a silver medal for
Waitz has retired from running, but stays
active in the running community as a spokeswomen
for Avon Running - Global Women's Circuit
and for Adidas. For her influence on American
running in the United States, Waitz was
the first foreign runner inducted into the
National Distance Running Hall of Fame.