If you are running Grete’s Great Gallop Half Marathon on Sunday, you should know something about the legendary woman it is named for. Grete Waitz was a young track star in her home of Oslo, Norway, as well as a national champion in many events throughout Europe but unknown in the United States. In 1978, when she planning on retiring from competing, her husband and coach, Jack Waitz, suggested she apply to run the NYC Marathon so they could get a free ticket to New York and wine and dine all weekend. She was accepted as a rabbit, meaning that Fred Lebow, the race director, thought her track speed would set a fast pace for the elite females and then Grete would fade out around mile 10.
“Our races are to our sport what Wimbledon and the Australian, U.S., and French Opens are to tennis, and what the Masters, U.S., and British Opens and PGA Championship are to golf. Each race has the history, the tradition, the honor roll of legendary champions, and a special place in the eyes of all to make them stand apart from the other events.” Mary Wittenberg