Goodbye to Grete

Posted on April 21, 2011

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Earlier this week, Grete Waitz died after a six year battle against cancer, aged 57. A nine time winner of the New York Marathon, Grete was not only a great long distance runner but a champion for women runners of all type and distance, leading by example of what a mother, wife and teacher could accomplish.

At her debut marathon in 1978, she set a world best of 2:32:30 and she broke the world record three more times after that; New York in 1979 and 1980 and London in 1983. She won the 1996 London Marathon, the 1988 Stockholm Marathon and a silver medal at the 1984 LA Olympics. I could go on …

She was also humble and compassionate, inspiring women from all four corners to run their best. Those who were lucky enough to meet her said she had the ability to make you feel like you were the only person in the room.

When diagnosed with the dreaded C, she battled the illness the same way as she did the roads during a race; with determination, focus and a dedication to winning. And despite ultimately losing the race, she has shown us that it’s the actual running of the race and giving it our all that gives the greatest rewards, the journey not the destination.

So next time you are out for a run, take a moment and think of Grete. Give thanks for all she did for a sport we love and try to live every day with the grace and strength that she did.

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