Pioneering Norwegian long-distance runner Grete Waitz died on Tuesday at the age of 57 after a lengthy battle with cancer.

The former runner — who promoted distance running for women — won a silver medal in the inaugural marathon event for women at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.

Waitz also won the event at the first World Athletics Championships held 1983 in Helsinki, Finland.

During her career, the Oslo-born athlete won the New York marathon nine times and was a two-time winner of the event in London. She also won the Stockholm marathon once.

She started running in her teens and competed in the 1,500-metre event at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich and also entered the event at the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal.

Since Norway was one of the countries that boycotted the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow, she but did not compete at those games.

Waitz also set the world record for the 3,000-metre event in 1975 and 1976. Waitz died at Oslo University Hospital, Norwegian broadcaster NRK reported. After being diagnosed with cancer some years ago, she often spoke about the need to raise funds for cancer research and treatment.

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