Women started championing the marathon since as early as the mid-1960s. This progressive change was then followed by Košice as well.
On 5 October 1980, women lined up at the start in front of IAAF President Adrian Paulen and World Peace Council President Rómeš Čandra. 14 of them reached the finish line – double the number of men in their first race in 1924. The competitive spirit was also at its highest – Šárka Balcarová crossed the finish line first with a mere six-second lead over Vlasta Rulcová.
The men’s field in 1980 had over 1000 entrants but, as usual, the expectations weren’t met. Two-time Olympic champion Waldemar Cierpinski, just two months after his victory in Moscow, was visibly not very charged up. He did well during the first part of the race, but he couldn’t finish. Consequently, the Soviet Union’s Alexej Ľagušev became the surprise winner.