A Celebration of a Legend
Grete Waitz won the New York City Marathon an astonishing nine times between 1978 and 1988, as well as the NYRR New York Mini 10K five times—all of this in addition to five IAAF World Cross Country titles, the gold medal at the 1983 IAAF World Championships Marathon, and the silver medal at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Marathon. It’s no wonder she’s often considered the greatest female distance runner of all time.
Waitz had a special relationship with New York Road Runners: New York was the scene of some of her greatest triumphs, and she had a close friendship with former NYRR president Fred Lebow, running the 1992 New York City Marathon with him when he was in remission from cancer.
Sadly, both Lebow and Waitz lost their lives to cancer, Lebow in 1994 and Waitz in 2011, following a post-competitive career as a book author and advocate for youth and community fitness. Her work included serving as chairwoman of the NYRR Foundation, which has evolved into NYRR’s youth program, Rising New York Road Runners.
The first man to cross the finish line in today's 10K was Harbert Okuti of the Westchester Track Club in 30:39. Okuti is on a tear, having also won last weekend’s New Balance Bronx 10 Mile and having finished first at the TCS New York City Marathon Tune-Up (18M) on September 17. Meseret Ali Basa of the West Side Runners was the women’s winner in 36:44.
A post-race festival featured cupcakes to celebrate Waitz's birthday, a live DJ, giveaways from Waitz's legacy foundation AKTIV Against Cancer, and photo ops.
AKTIV Against Cancer works to ensure physical activity will become an integral part of cancer treatment. Race participants and others can celebrate Waitz’s legacy and support AKTIV Against Cancer's mission with a donation.