This Division contains some of the most famous names in women’s running as well as some you might not have heard of. Whoever they are, you know that these ladies’ incredible marathon performances will inspire you! So come on and vote and choose which one of these amazing marathoners advances to Round 2!
Paula Radcliffe is the current world record holder with her 2:15:25. Besides being blazing fast, she gave all mother runners hope when she won the New York City Marathon just months after delivering her first child. (And I don’t care what Runner’s World says. Scott Jurek is nowhere close to Paula’s league!)
Grete Waitz held the world record several decades before Paula took it. This Norwegian dominated the sport of women’s marathoning in the late 70’s and 80’s, winning nine New York City Marathons and won the silver behind Joan Benoit Samuelson at the 1984 Olympics.
We all know Deena Kastor for her amazingly patient performance at the 2004 Athens Olympics where she won bronze. She also owns the American marathon record with the 2:19:36 she ran in the 2006 London marathon. She also owns the American half marathon record as well as the road 15k, 8k and 5k records.
Uta Pippig was the first woman to win Boston three consecutive times, which she did in the mid-90s. She’s best known for her badass ’96 performance at the Boston Marathon where she broke tape with her legs covered in menstrual blood and diarrhea! Not for everyone, but you gotta admit that took some serious guts!
Mizuki Noguchi is the 2004 gold medalist marathoner and previously set two world records. Her PR of 2:19:12 is still the Asian marathon record. She also held the 25k world record for a few years.
Olga Markova is yet another Boston Marathon champ. She won Boston in 1992 and 1993. Her 2:23:33 run in 1992 was that year’s best marathon performance of any woman that year.
“Catherine the Great” as she is widely known is definitely one of the world’s best. If we seeded this competition, she’d probably be seeded #1! Two-time World Champion, two-time Olympic silver medalist and four time Boston Marathon winner, Catherine Ndereba was a force to be reckoned with. In 2001, she set the world record with her 2:18:47 run in Chicago. She is tied for the record of most marathons run under 2:30 with 21!
Nuta Olaru has long been one of the great women marathoners with her PR of 2:24:33 set in 2004, but it’s since becoming a masters runner that she’s really taken off. Despite battling a gall bladder disorder, she’s regularly running in the 2:30s and is looking to go under 2:31 before she’s done.
Tegla Loroupe has a blazing fast 2:20:42 PR, but what she’s best known for is overcoming a nasty bout of food poisoning the day before the 2000 Olympic marathon in Sydney. There despite her ailment, came in 13th running barefoot. The next day she placed 5th in the 10,000 meters, also running barefoot.
Kristiansen started her career unremarkably, but after giving birth, she started to improve! She placed 4th in the first Olympic marathon and was the first athlete to win World titles on all three surfaces. In 1985, she won the London Marathon and set a world record in the process. Her time of 2:21:06 stood for 13 years.
Mary Keitany is the third-fastest woman EVER to run 26.2 miles, boasting a very impressive PR of 2:18:37…. and she’s only been running the distance since November 2010. Her marathon debut at New York 2010 included a third-place finish and time of 2:29:01. You know, NBD.
Lornah Kiplagat is a Kenyan born, Dutch citizen with a marathon best 2:22:22. She’s won the Rotterdam, Amsterdam and Osaka marathons. She boasts several records, including the Dutch record for the marathon as well as world records for 5k, 10 mile and 20k road races as well as the half-marathon (1:06:25!)
“Joanie” was the first-ever women’s Olympic marathon champ, has qualified for seven Olympic Trials and held the American record in the marathon for 18 (!) years. Oh yeah, and her times at the Olympics and the Chicago Marathon are still the fastest for American women in those respective races. Did we mention that she ran her first Olympic Trials marathon just 17 days after knee surgery?
Rosa Mota averaged two marathons a year for a decade and won 14 of those races. She was known for performing well on big stages, finishing third in the 1984 Olympic marathon and winning at the 1988 Games. Mota won the European Marathon Championship three times, as well as capturing the World Marathon Championship in 1987. Add to that victories in Boston, Chicago and London and a PR of 2:23:29 – what an impressive body of work!
Australian Lisa Ondieki won the silver medal in the marathon at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, just the second time women were allowed to compete in the event on the Olympic stage. She was merely 13 seconds away from gold! Ondieki (now Martin’s) other top performances include gold medals in the marathon at the 1986 and 1990 Commonwealth Games. From 1992-2001, she held the New York City Marathon course record with a time of 2:24:40.
Ethiopian great, Dire Tune, is yet another Boston winner in this bunch, breaking the tape in 2008. She came in second at Boston in 2009 collapsing at the finish line. Besides her Boston achievements, she holds the one hour running world record and holds the Ethiopian half marathon record (1:07:19).