A nine-time winner of the New York City marathon, the Norwegian schoolteacher is credited with bringing women's distance running to an international stage. She set a world record in 1978 in her first NYC marathon, despite it being her first time running the full 26.2 miles. A pioneer of the sport, Waitz organized races, worked as a running coach and a community advocate. In 2007, she created the Active Against Cancer foundation, to sponsor runners and race money for cancer treatment. Waitz passed away from the disease in 2011.