Reporting Marla Diamond
NEW YORK (WCBS 880) - Champion marathon runner Grete Waitz was a constant presence on the first weekend in November in New York City.
WCBS 880′s Marla Diamond On The Story
The Norwegian won the New York City Marathon in 1978, 1979, 1980, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, and 1988.
She died of cancer on April 19 of this year.
Race director Mary Wittenberg says something doesn’t feel right about Waitz’s absence.
“At the same time, I feel so much like Grete’s with us all of the time and, so this year, you’ll see us dedicate the marathon to Grete,” Wittenberg told WCBS 880 reporter Marla Diamond.
Waitz’s husband Jack will also be running in her memory
“It will be a little bittersweet, of course, but I have a lot of great memories from all these years in New York,” he said.
It was Jack that convinced Grete to run that first race in 1978.
“She was really, really hurt and she was pretty angry at me when she finished that race,” he said. “Some people said that she threw the shoes at me and that was [in] fact the case. She was angry and said ‘Oh you should never have told me to this. This was the worst thing I ever done never again.’”
Of course, she changed her mind and won a record nine NYC marathons.
“She didn’t only change her life. She also changed my life. It has been a great, great life with Grete. That’s for sure,” he said.
Now, after years of cheering her on on the sidelines, he will run the marathon for the very first time this Sunday.
Do you remember Grete Waitz? Share your story in the comments section below!