Friday, April 22, 2011
How could I have missed this? My total hero during the 80's was a willow-wisp of a woman with a blonde ponytail, Grete Waitz. A Norwegian, tough as hell, and nine time winner of the New York City Marathon when women were just discovered to be strong enough for the distance. (Yes, check my yearbook. My goals were to run the NYC marathon and write the great American novel. Geesh.) I had pictures of Grete cut out from Runner's World pasted into my school notebooks. She was a sensation, a discovery for me of how strong and successful a woman could be, of what the body could do. She broke the 2 1/2 hour barrier for the marathon and kept going -- to the olympics and endless titles. She placed second to my other hero, Joan Benoit, in the first ever women's marathon in Los Angels. Waitz died on the 19th in Oslo of cancer.