Grete Waitz, one of the most celebrated champions of the New York City Marathon has passed away at age 57 from cancer. Waitz, who won the silver medal behind Joan Benoit-Samuelson in the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984, won the New York City Marathon nine times and set world records in the Marathon four times. She lowered the world’s best three times in a row at the New York City Marathon, a notoriously tough marathon course, where she was considered the Queen on New York City.
In addition to her dominance at the New York City Marathon, Waitz also won the London Marathon twice, setting her personal best of 2:24:54 there in 1986. She set personal bests of 4:26.90 in the mile and 4:00.55 in the 1,500M, showing her great range of speed as a runner.
There is an excellent write-up in The Oregonian of Portland, Oregon. The tribute begins as follows:
Some athletes arrive at a time when the world is still too small to fully appreciate their enormous physical talents. But instead of shrinking from their calling, these giants make the world bigger, and we grow to love them for it.
Athletes like Jackie Robinson, Babe Didrikson and Jim Thorpe come to mind, but so does the lesser known Grete Waitz, a high school teacher turned marathon runner who died of cancer this week at age 57. Her domination of the sport of marathon running includes nine wins between 1978 and 1988 at the elite New York City Marathon, a feat no one else has replicated.
Click here to read the entire article.
Waitz died of cancer on the 19th of April 2011 at age 57. She is survived by her husband Jack, and her brothers Jan and Arild. The Norwegian government has announced she wil be buried with government honors at state expense, only the sixth woman in Norwegian history to be given this honor.
We wish her family the best.
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