Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Who Is Your Inspiration?

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Who inspires you to jump out of bed and get moving?  Whom do you draw your strength from?

I would love to know -- please start the conversation in the Comments Section of this blog post.

Since I have been a long distance runner for the past 39 years, my greatest inspiration has been Grete Waitz, nine time winner of the NYC Marathon -- do you have any idea what it takes to win a marathon that many times, especially in NYC?  Grete Waitz was also our Fred's Team Captain (click on this link for more info:  Fred's Team).  Grete was one of the most gracious and humble people I have ever met. The most memorable moment was when she crossed the finish line of the 1992 NYC Marathon, hand-in hand, with Fred Lebow, President of the New York Road Runners Club (NYRRC).  At that time, Lebow's brain cancer was in remission -- they ran the entire race together.  They finished in 5 hours, 32 minutes and 34 seconds -- for me, this moment remains one of the most memorable and emotional scenes in all of road racing.

Grete Waitz & Fred Lebow Finish Hand-in-Hand in 1992 NYC Marathon
image from:  AFP/ScanPix
Lebow was the visionary behind the NYC Marathon -- each year, he was so busy organizing the event, that he never ran in it until 1992.  For Grete to run that slowly had to be very physically painful (have you ever tried running 26.2 miles at half of your normal speed?) -- however, I am sure that it was one of the most gratifying experiences of her life! Grete encouraged and inspired her good friend throughout the journey and across that finish line, a vision that is indelibly inked in my memory.

Fred Lebow succumbed to cancer on October 9th, 1994.  It was a very sad day for all New York City runners and an entire nation of runners.

In 2005, Grete was diagnosed with cancer -- she never revealed any details, but bravely fought the disease and continued to be our Fred's Team Captain and inspiration.  On April 19th, 2011, she lost her battle. Grete Waitz was and continues to be my inspiration -- she was a true champion in every sense of the word:  a great runner, a phenomenal role model, and a class act!