I sent my sister a text this morning that simply said:
H sh*t. Grete Waitz died. Cancer.
Her response: No way!!! She's like, your idol...
Yup. Grete Waitz was the first runner I was a fan of. I was intrigued by her. I remember watching her win those marathons in NYC. I remember listening to her and thinking how great of a person she seemed. Even before I was a runner, I was a fan of hers.
When I became a runner, I even put my hair into pigtails like hers. I probably secretly hoped I could run like her someday.
Grete was invited to run the NYC marathon as a pacesetter in 1978, although she'd never run a marathon before, and ended up winning it and setting a new world record.
She was a pioneer in female running, she did work for several charitable organizations, and she continued her determination in the fight against cancer.
A class act, in my book.
Grete Waitz died today at the age of 57, in her hometown of Olso, with her husband by her side.
I truly hope she knew how much she was admired and appreciated, even by those of us whom she never met.