A season-long tribute to the late Grete Waitz will begin with the dedication of the 40th running of the NYRR New York Mini 10K to the great Norwegian athlete, it was announced today by New York Road Runners president and CEO Mary Wittenberg.
Waitz, who shares the record of five wins with Tegla Loroupe at the world’s original women’s only road race, also won a record nine New York City Marathon titles and was the silver medalist at the inaugural Olympic women’s marathon in 1984. She passed away last month at the age of 57 after a long battle with cancer.
Future tributes and events in memory of Waitz are planned through the rest of the year at other NYRR events, including the ING New York City Marathon on Sunday, November 6.
“Grete was one of the true pioneers for women in our sport, and she had so much impact in so many ways, it’s only appropriate that our tributes start at the world’s original women-only road race, the Mini,” said Wittenberg.
“The Mini was always an important race for Grete. It was the first women-only road race she ran,” said Grete’s husband, Jack Waitz. “I am still impressed about the times Grete ran in Central Park. The Mini gave Grete the inspiration to start The Grete Waitz Run in Oslo in 1984, a race that 10 years later had 47,000 women running.”
Special events to be introduced on race day and the weekend:
· Waitz’s image will be featured on the runner T-shirt, and the back of the finishing medal will be engraved with the words “Remembering Grete”
· New York Road Runners women staff members will be invited to run and will wear special commemorative T-shirts
· A photo exposition of Waitz’s career will be presented at the finishing area in Central Park, and the mile markers on the 6.2-mile course will be designed in her honor
· A select group of Friends of Grete, led by her husband Jack Waitz, will run the race in her memory
· The women’s 1500 meters at the adidas Grand Prix Diamond League track meet—also on Saturday, June 11 at Icahn Stadium—will be renamed the Grete Waitz 1500 Meters to honor Grete’s longtime association with adidas and the running success she found in New York City
· An industry-wide tribute to Waitz, which will bring together athletes from the track and roads, industry leaders, journalists, NYRR officials, and staff, will be held the weekend of the NYRR New York Mini 10K
Founded by NYRR in 1972, the Mini got its name when race founder Fred Lebow convinced the first sponsor to support a six-mile “mini marathon”—named for the miniskirt, which was then in fashion—rather than a full marathon. The Mini has been a fixture on the NYRR calendar ever since. The first race had 78 participants; there have been nearly 200,000 entrants to date.