When I started in Grete’s Great Gallop last fall, I didn’t know enough about the lady who briefly spoke to the nervous masses before the half marathon in Central Park started. Now I do. Her untimely death after battling cancer brought out many wonderful tributes, especially in New York.
She won the marathon nine times and she was close friends with Fred Lebow, the King of Running New York. In effect, she was the Queen. In the documentary about Lebow’s life she spoke so lovingly about him.
The New York Times has great coverage of Waitz’s life. I was especially struck by the comments below the story. She clearly touched a lot of people.
Waitz wished us luck on that perfect day in October. It worked for me; the race in her name gave me a PR on the Half.
She was from Norway, but a New Yorker in her core, as was noted on the New York Road Runners website: ‘Grete possessed a true New Yorker’s spirit and determination and yet remained consistently kind and humble.’
She was, in other words, a runner.