With most of the field paying little attention to her entry as she was not a marathoner, she stunned them all - running a world record of 2:32:30 in her first-ever marathon. From then on, the New York Marathon, and even women's long-distance racing became synonymous with her name. She returned for the 1979 race, winning again in a world record - and then again in 1980. In all, she won this race nine times between 1978 and 1988. (for perspective, Paula Radcliffe [GBR] is next in line with only three titles) She won the silver in the 1984 Olympic marathon, and finished fourth in her last NYC race in 1990.
Beyond all that, Waitz is just as known for her long promotion of marathoning and long-distance running for women, and children, often working in concert with NYC Marathon director Fred Lebow to promote the sport. Truly a legend for the sport, on and off the race course, Waitz's time records may have been broken, but her legend will not.