Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Grete Waitz, R.I.P.

Barrier breaker, great champion, class act. When she crossed the line to win her first NYC Marathon, no one knew who she was.

“When she ran that first New York race, she had never run more than 13 miles. She and Jack ate a most unusual dinner on the eve of the race: shrimp cocktail, filet mignon, baked potato and ice cream, with a bottle of red wine. Waitz later told the story that she felt as if she were flying through the first 16 miles, but the final 10 miles felt as if she had a bag of cement strapped to her back. She considered abandoning the race somewhere in the Bronx, but, as she recalled, ‘I didn’t know where I was, and I had to get back to Jack.’
“When she crossed the finish line, exhausted, and setting a world record, she took off her shoes and threw them at her husband. ‘I’ll never do this stupid thing again!’ she yelled at him.” 

She was only 57.


Martin Benedict O'Brien II said...

Thanks for the inspiration and hope. I'm 57: same age Grete was when she performed her feat. I currently do a 15 minute mile. Maybe I should give some serious thought to pushing myself a little harder.

Mark Alvarez said...

Hi, Marty. I didn't set the quote off well enough. Grete was 57 when she died, not when she ran so fast. Sorry for the confusion.

As to speed, especially at our age, it's doing it rather than doing it fast that counts (I keep telling myself).

Martin Benedict O'Brien II said...

Obviously no one can win the NYC Marathon at 57. My brain never woke up today. Nevertheless, interesting and memorable anecdote. Thanks for the clarification.