After an illustrious running career, Grete Waitz succumbed to a long battle with cancer at the age of 57. She is an inspiration to all runners. Gothamist reports:
Grete Waitz, the Norwegian marathoner who won the New York City Marathon nine times, died today at age 57. She had been battling cancer for the past six years and passed away in Oslo. She won the 1978-80, 1982-86, and 1988 NYC Marathons, leaving the race organizers to call her “The Greatest Champion in New York City Marathon History.” Waitz’s husband convinced her to enter the race—her first marathon—in 1978; she was expected to be a pace setter, but ended up winning and setting a world record, 2 hours, 32 minutes, 30 seconds.
In NYRR’s tribute, they write:
We are sad to lose a dear friend and our most decorated champion, Grete Waitz, who passed away today. Her strength and grace throughout her fight with cancer were incredible, and when so many people would have crumbled she stood strong and positive.
Grete was a great champion in life as well as in sport. We treasure every moment we had with her. Grete is forever part of NYRR. Her legacy lives through the marathon, Grete’s Gallop, the Mini, and our youth programs. She was deeply important in making the New York City Marathon what it is today, and she inspired generations of women, including athletes like Paula Radcliffe and Deena Kastor. That inspiration will continue.
We will forever celebrate Grete in our hearts and as an inspiration and role model for women’s running.
If Grete had to go, it is somehow fitting that she lived until the day after one of the greatest weekends in the sport of marathon running.
[img: Waitz winning the 1983 NYC Marathon(AP)]