Ingrid Kristiansen née Christensen (born 21 March 1956 in Trondheim, Norway), was one of the best female long distance runners during the 1980s. She finished in fourth place in the first women's Olympic marathon race, at the 1984 Summer Olympics, and was a World Champion on the track, roads and cross-country. Kristiansen was the first athlete to win World titles on all three surfaces. Early in her career, she was also an elite cross country skier, winning several Norwegian and one European junior championships.
Kristiansen started her career quite unremarkably, running 2:30 - 2:40 for her first few marathons. She won a medal in the 3000 metres at the 1980 World Championships in Athletics, taking the bronze. It was not until she gave birth to her first son, Gaute, that she began to improve. After winning the Houston Marathon and the London Marathon in 1984, she placed fourth in the first Olympic women's marathon in Los Angeles. She also set two track world records in the 5,000m (14:58.9) and the 10,000m (30:59.14) at the Bislett Games in Oslo.
In 1985 she won the London Marathon again in a new world record of 2:21:06, smashing Joan Benoit's world record of 2:22:43, set in the Boston Marathon in 1983. Later that year she lost to Joan Benoit in the Chicago Marathon, running 2:23:05 for second place.
1986 was Kristiansen's best year in track. After she won the Boston Marathon in hot conditions, she set a new world record in the 10,000m (30:13.3), smashing her own world record from 1984. Then she broke the 5,000m world record, running 14:37.89. After that she broke the half marathon world record in Sandnes, running 1:06:40, but the course was not certified and the record still remained Joan Benoit's. She won the Chicago Marathon, once again in hot and humid conditions, running 2:27:08. She ended the year winning the European Championships 10,000m gold medal, running the 2nd fastest time ever (30:23.3) and nearly 40 seconds ahead of the second place finisher.
In 1987 Kristiansen attempted to break her marathon world record in London, but she slowed in the second half and won in 2:22:48. She won the first World Championships Women's 10,000m in Rome, despite a leg injury that hindered her performance.
Healed from the injury, in 1988 she won the London Marathon for the fourth time, finishing in a time of 2:25:41. Despite a 1:09 first half, she slowed dramatically in the second half, however she was still five minutes ahead of any other woman. At the Olympic Games in Seoul, she participated in the 10,000m, and even though she was the heavy favourite, she dropped out after seven laps with a fractured bone in her foot.
She returned to racing in 1989 with a win in the Boston Marathon, running 2:24:33 despite the heat in the latter stages. She decided to not run any track races that year, but she still won a few road races in Europe. Her final marathon was the 1989 New York City Marathon, which she won in a time of 2:25:30, running away with it from the start. Gradually she raced less and less, despite winning the 1990 City-Pier-City Loop in the Hague. She retired in 1993.
Now she cross country skis often and lives with her two children and husband in Oslo, Norway. Along with Grete Waitz, she opened up a new generation of Norwegian runners. She was known for carrying out a big deal of her training on the treadmill, along with laughing often before a race.