-Grete Waitz (1953-2011)
Grete Waitz, nine-time New York City Marathon winner, four-time world marathon record-setter, and four-time Olympian, has died after a long battle with cancer. She was 57.
A native of Norway, Waitz kept a home in New York City and was a great friend of NYRR. She was instrumental in founding our now-nationwide youth programs and was a current NYRR board member. We all mourn the loss of a great champion in life as well as in sport.
Statement from Mary Wittenberg
“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. Grete is forever part of NYRR, and we treasure every moment we had with her. Her legacy lives on through the ING New York City Marathon, Grete’s Great Gallop, the NYRR New York Mini 10K, and our youth programs. She was deeply important in making our 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.”
—Mary Wittenberg, President and CEO, New York Road Runners