As a female runner, I have to give a nod to Joan Benoit Samuelson and Grete Waitz. The IOC bought in to the old adage that marathons were dangerous for women and didn't have the competition until 1984, the year before I was born. Archaic, outdated, chauvinist, whatever you want to call it. Samuelson and Waitz had run multiple marathons before 1984 and are legends. They won the gold and silver, respectively.
Today, names like Kara Goucher, Shalane Flanagan and Meb Keflezighi are on my list as well. I was almost screaming at my computer last year when Meb won Boston. I had to keep my crazy contained though since I was at work.
My other role models are family and friends. My parents were running before me, and friends were too. It may have taken me a little longer to get to long-distance running, but I eventually did. When I did, I was able to pick their brains and I listened! It wasn't like when I was a teen and my parents tried to tell me something. I looked for advice and I took it.
Tuesdays on the Run with April, Patty, and Erika.