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Marathoner Grete Waitz Has Died

Marathon champion Grete Waitz, in New York's Central Park on Oct. 19, 1983.
Marathon champion Grete Waitz, in New York's Central Park on Oct. 19, 1983.

The day after the latest Boston Marathon, there's this sad news of note for runners around the world:

"Grete Waitz, the elite Norwegian runner who won nine New York City Marathons and a silver medal at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, died Tuesday after a six-year battle with cancer. She was 57." ( The Associated Press)

As Amby Burfoot of Runner's World wrote in 2004:

"The women's running revolution, the biggest sea change in our sport in 30 years, began in Norway, where a young track star, Grete Waitz, broke boundaries as well as records. In 1972, at the Munich Olympics, she ran the 1500 meters, the first time women were allowed to participate in the event. She went on to win the New York City Marathon an almost-inconceivable nine times, a feat achieved by no other runner (male or female), and set three world records."

Update at 11:30 a.m. ET. "World's Most Humble Marathon Superstar?"

Runner's World Burfoot has filed an appreciation of Waitz. She was, he writes:

"The world's most humble marathon superstar. She never, ever called attention to herself. But through her efforts and example, particularly in the New York City Marathon, which she won nine times, she turned the marathon into a worldwide, female-friendly urban phenomenon."

Update at 9:45 a.m. ET. The International Association of Athletics Federations has a post on Waitz remarkable career here. It writes that:

"Her debut over the Marathon distance, in New York on 22 October 1978, was nothing short of astounding. Not only did she run away with the victory, she shattered the previous World best by more than two minutes with her 2:32:30 performance. She lowered the World best on three more occasions: to 2:27:33 in 1979 and 2:25:41 in 1980, both times again in New York, and again to 2:25:29 in 1983 when she claimed her first of two victories in the London Marathon. At her second victory in the British capital, in 1986, she produced her ultimate personal best of 2:24:54."

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