Grete Waitz 1953-2011
April 19, 2011 4:03 AM   Subscribe

Norwegian marathon runner Grete Waitz dies at 57.

2006 interview: "I worked out an hour the same morning and I felt fine, and then you go for a blood test and three hours later you're told you have cancer. Talk about the roof caving in."
posted by iviken (17 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I ran in the 1980 NYC marathon with her. And about 20,000 others.

posted by Obscure Reference at 4:22 AM on April 19, 2011

I'm not going to put a little period here for a marathon runner. Maybe multiple underlines?


I'd never heard of Grete Waitz before, though I do try to pay attention to recent marathon winners. Where exactly is Norway in Kenya?
posted by twoleftfeet at 4:26 AM on April 19, 2011

Grete Waitz won nine New York City Marathons between 1978 and 1988 setting a few world records in the process.

She ran a personal best of 2:24 (and at the time world record for women) in the London Marathon in 1986 (which lasted a few days before Benoit shaved a few minutes off at Boston.) Crazy to think that Waitz's record has been beaten more than 300 times since.

She deserves a Viking ship funeral.

Where exactly is Norway in Kenya?

Funny enough, just about as far from Nairobi as the home of the present female world-record holder in the marathon (2:15) Paula Radcliffe.
posted by three blind mice at 4:55 AM on April 19, 2011 [7 favorites]

Wow, 57 is way too young to be dead.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 6:00 AM on April 19, 2011

The Norwegian Festival: Grete's Great Gallop, a half marathon run in Central Park on October 1, is my last race before my first marathon next fall.

I will always remember the coverage of Grete running the NYC Marathon '92 alongside New York Road Runner's founder Fred Lebow, after his brain cancer diagnosis. They finished in 5:32:35.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:19 AM on April 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'm not going to say she had a good run, but she did. Unfortunately, it wasn't as long as it should've been.

posted by flippant at 6:19 AM on April 19, 2011

Her first marathon in 1978 was supposed to be her final run as a competitive athlete. 2008 interview:

NYRR: Did your New York City Marathon 1978 win really keep you in the sport and deter you from retiring from running?
GW: Yes, I came to New York with my husband to celebrate my retirement. I left for New York determined to continue my teaching and maybe have kids. But, instead, I quit my job teaching and never had kids.

Two months ago, in one of her final public appearances, on behalf of the Active Against Cancer Foundation, she donated a cancer scanner to the Ullevål University Hospital in Oslo. She passed away today, at the same hospital.

"Waitz’s funeral is expected to be held next week and will be a small private arrangement, according to the wishes of the athlete, Aanesen said."
posted by iviken at 6:38 AM on April 19, 2011


posted by cashman at 7:02 AM on April 19, 2011

This is so sad. She was a wonderful athlete and a great woman. Rest in peace.
posted by joannemullen at 7:11 AM on April 19, 2011

I'm in awe of her achievements. And she always struck me as a wonderful person. Sad indeed.

posted by Dumsnill at 7:25 AM on April 19, 2011

I read about her in Runners World from time to time when I was attempting to finish 5Ks in less time than new moms pushing strollers.

posted by randomkeystrike at 7:52 AM on April 19, 2011


awful. She was so well-loved in the running community.
posted by stagewhisper at 8:24 AM on April 19, 2011

I thought marathon runners were immortal?
posted by Lectrick at 10:57 AM on April 19, 2011

Awww, so sorry she died and so young.
posted by nickyskye at 11:47 AM on April 19, 2011


A dignified, estimable athlete.

Ave, vale, salve.
posted by Mental Wimp at 12:38 PM on April 19, 2011

roomthreeseventeen, I remember the 1992 marathon .. I admired her so much before that race and even more so afterward. She was a really great human being.

posted by Kangaroo at 1:58 PM on April 19, 2011

Watched her run many times...we were the same age.....

posted by bjgeiger at 10:50 PM on April 19, 2011

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