Talk to any marathon runner and they will tell you how the experience is both great and torturous. And it is even more difficult for women, thanks to our beautifully unique anatomies (-if you think I’m being sexist when I say this, please read this write-up by marathon runner Helen Coffey in the Telegraph.) But there some exceptionally fit and hardworking women in this world who have accomplished this numerous times. If you, like me, have never ever even considered attempting this near-Herculean task, may be these five women will inspire you.


Rosa Mota Picture By: Diario de Noticias
Rosa Mota
Picture By: Diario de Noticias


Rosa Maria Correia dos Santos Mota is the first Portuguese woman from her country to win at the Olympics. She was also the only woman to be leading in European, World, and Olympic champion at the same time. She has also been regarded as the greatest female marathon runner of all time by the Association of International Marathons and Distance Races (AIMS). Apart from being a two-time Olympic medal winner, Mota ran 21 marathon races between 1982 and 1992 and won all of those 14 races.


Catherine Ndereba Picture By:
Catherine Ndereba
Picture By:


A Kenyan marathon runner, Ndebeba has been a two-time winner at the World Championships in Athletics. Coming from a family of marathon runners, she went on to break the women’s marathon world record in 2001, running 2:18:47 at the Chicago Marathon. Among her many other feats, Ndereba is also a two-time Olympic silver medal winner and a four-time winner of the Boston Marathon.


Constantina Diţă  Picture By: Pro Sport
Constantina Diţă
Picture By: Pro Sport


A Romanian half-marathon and marathon runner, Diţă was a gold medal winner at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The first Romanian to win at the 2005 IAAF World Half Marathon Championships, she went on to win a silver at the same event the next year. After winning women’s marathon at the 2008 Summer Olympics in 2 hours, 26 minutes and 44 seconds, Diţă became the oldest Olympic marathon champion in history of the games.


Paula Radcliffe Picture By:
Paula Radcliffe
Picture By:


Paula Jane Radcliffe is an English marathon runner and a former world champion of the marathon and half marathon championships. She is also the current women’s world record holder having finished her run in 2 hours 15 minutes and 25 seconds. Apart from the Olympics, where the athlete has had a hard luck at winning medals, Radcliffe has won some of the most prestigious marathons like the London Marathon (2002, 2003, 2005), New York Marathon (2004, 2007, 2008), and the  Chicago Marathon (2002).


Mizuki Noguchi Picture By: Message From   Mzungo
Mizuki Noguchi
Picture By: Message From Mzungo


Another Olympic Champion, Noguchi, is a Japanese marathon runner. Having started as a track and cross country athlete, she later moved on to running marathons.  After winning the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships two years in a row, she later became the Olympic champion at the 2004 Athens Olympics. She had to take a hiatus for a few years because of muscular problems but returned with a bang in 2011, and went on to compete at the Olympics again.


[Featured Picture Courtesy:]