Grete Waitz: Farewell to a long-distance running icon

Grete Waitz, famous distance runner, died at age 57.

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Last week came the stunning news that Norwegian long-distance runner Grete Waitz had died at age 57. If there’s one person who had a profound affect on long distance running it was Waitz

She put women’s running on the map what with nine New York Marathon wins including the inaugural running of the event. And there were her five World Cross-Country titles and a silver medal, behind American Joan Benoit Samuelson, in the first ever women’s marathon at the 1984 summer Olympics in Los Angeles.

Before Waitz, women’s long-distance competitions were somewhat of an afterthought. With her emergence came more attention to not only to the fact that women could race as far as men but also to women’s running in general.

Ever the accessible and personal spokesperson, Waitz inspired countless female and male runners. She leaves a tremendous legacy.


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