Man Runs New York Marathon in Beautiful Tribute to His Late Wife

new york city marathon grete waitz

Most hardcore distance runners are more than familiar with the name Grete Waitz: She's the Norwegian champion marathon runner who died of cancer in April of this year after winning the New York City Marathon nine times. (Today's marathon was dedicated to her.) But this year it's her husband, Jeff Waitz, who's in the spotlight. Despite struggling with calf injuries and only having run once in the last three weeks, Jeff set out to run the 26.2 miles with one -- and only one -- goal in mind: To honor the memory of his wife.

So how did he fare in the race?

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Jeff ended up finishing in 3 hours, 50 minutes and 41 seconds -- which I'd say is pretty awesome, especially considering he had planned to drop out along the way. According to Jeff, he was able to recall a trick during the race that him and Grete had used in past races to preserve their legs: After the first five miles, he took care to walk for a minute and give his legs a break every mile until the end. It's pretty impressive that despite all that walking, he finished in under four hours.

I get a little teary every time I read Jeff's quote about how how he attributes his ability to finish to his late wife watching over him:

If Grete had been around she have told me not to run today, I’m sure ... I asked her to take care of me and amazingly enough, I didn’t have any problem with the injuries I’ve had in the past months.

There's something so beautiful about the fact that Jeff had cheered on Grete from the sidelines for years; and, now, when he needed it most, she was there to help him finish his own race.

 

Image via slgckgc/Flickr

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