As I’ve noted, the impression of effortlessness she exuded was just that, an impression. The one time I beat her she had passed me breathing like a freight train. Could this be the Grete we all, men and women alike of the era, loved, so graceful in everything? I passed her for good at the southern end of the Park, 1/2 mile to go in a ten-miler. She was human after all with her grace and stature enhanced by the reality. And she was so identified with running in New York City, a kind of Yin to Fred Lebow’s Yang.
In the interest of completeness, though, I must acknowledge that in the only other time we raced, she passed me with just over 2 miles to go in the marathon. I was incapable of assessing her breathing at that point, focusing on my own collapse in the moment. But she ran the 2 1/4 mile that remained two minutes and 13 seconds faster than I did.