Linda Staudt was an outstanding long-distance runner. Following spectacular high school and university careers as a . She was at one time Canada’s top woman distance runner. Between 1980 and ’82, Staudt held a Sports Canada “B” Card, signifying a top-20 global ranking in her sport.
Staudt was born in Windsor, on August 29, 1958.
Staudt first attracted attention at the high school level, where she competed for the Secondary School of Commerce. Staudt was a four-time WSSA and SWOSSA track and field champion in the 1500 and 3000 metres. She set records in the latter event.
At the University of Windsor, which she attended between 1977 and 1981, Staudt twice won the Banner Shield, which the school awards to its Female Athlete of the Year. She took home the trophy in 1978 and 1980, in which years she also achieved top-ten national rankings in the 300m.
Staudt won three Ontario Women’s Interuniversity Athletic Association (OWIAA) Outdoor silver medals in the 3000 metres. She also added two OWIAA Indoor silvers at that distance and an OWIAA Outdoor bronze in the 1500 metres.
In 1979, Staudt won the 10,000-metre race at the Buffalo International Meet, setting the stage for further success at longer distances.
1980 was a tremendously successful year for Staudt. She set a Canadian record for the 30km distance at a road race in Pasadena, California. She also competed in the Avon International Marathon Race in London, England, where her 2.37.39 time earned her a bronze medal. This was the 13th fastest marathon time ever recorded by a woman. She won the Waterloo Classic 10K with a record 35.56 time. She also garnered a hat trick of fourth-place finishes at the Canadian Track & Field Association Championships, a Canada versus Belgium dual meet (both in the 3000 metres), and the Canadian Cross Country Championships.
In 1981, perhaps the strongest year of Staudt’s career, she won at least three marathon titles and achieved further success in several shorter-distance races. Staudt’s winning time of 2:33.33 in the Montreal International Marathon was the 12th fastest marathon ever run by a woman. She also won the Canadian Marathon in Regina, and the Tokyo International Marathon, the latter with a time of 2:34.28.
Staudt again won the Waterloo Classic 10K, setting a new record with a time of 34.16. She also won the Women’s Division of the Toronto Star 10K Run, finishing in 1:12.39.
Staudt also won 20-kilometre Avon races in Chicago and Ottawa. Her times, 1:11.26 and 1:10.39, were both course records. She took another title at that distance at the Canadian Track & Field Championships in Winnipeg, finished in 1:08.81. She also won the slightly shorter Blue Cross-Blue Shield 12-Mile Race in Detroit with a 1:10.08 record time.
During the year, Staudt reached number 11 on Marathon’s world rankings. She was also named Canadian Runner of the Year in the Women’s Open Division by Canadian Runner. At home, Staudt was honoured as Athlete of the Year by the Windsor Kinsmen and the City of Windsor.