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Death of a Marathon Champion

The running world lost nine time NYC Marathon winner, Grete Waitz, after a long six year battle with cancer on April 19th. Her passing came a day after Caroline Kilel and Geoffrey Mutai, both from Kenya, won the 2011 Boston Marathon. Her loss to the racing world was met with grief and sadness.

Grete was born in Oslo, Norway in 1953. A talented runner, Waitz grew up in a time where women athletes received little financial support to compete. However, she competed at every racing level and succeeded. Her will and determination allowed her to take home some notable titles including: nine NYC Marathon titles, a gold medal in the 1983 World Championship and a silver medal in the 1984 Summer Olympics.

In 1992 she raced in her final NYC Marathon with her friend, Fred Lebow. Lebow competed in the epic marathon in honor of his 60th birthday and after being diagnosed with brain cancer. The pair completed the race in 5:32:35.

Always a private individual, when the world learned of her cancer in 2005, she did not reveal what form cancer struck her.  However, she did not allow the cancer to overtake her life. Throughout the years she devoted her time to charities. In 2009, she established “Atkiv Mot Kreft” with her old sponsor, Addidas. Addidas would produce and sell a collection with Waitz name on them. 5% of the proceeds would go directly to the foundation.

Waitz passed away at the age of 57. Her life and career will never be forgotten in the racing community.

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