NEW YORK (AP) – Nine-time New York City Marathon champion Grete Waitz has been diagnosed with cancer and is undergoing treatment in her native Norway.

Mary Wittenberg, New York Road Runners president and CEO, and former president Allan Steinfeld have been in contact with Waitz and said in a statement she is in “excellent spirits.”

“Grete is a dear friend of the sport of running, and an important part of our family at New York Road Runners,” the statement said. “Grete is a champion and a fighter, and she will face this challenge head on as she has so many others.”

Waitz, 51, won the New York City Marathon from 1978-80, 1982-86 and 1988, the London Marathon twice (1983, 1986), was world marathon champion in 1983, a five-time world cross-country champion and won silver in the marathon at the 1984 Olympics.

“I have been diagnosed with cancer and am receiving treatment for the disease in Oslo,” Waitz told the magazine Norwegian magazine Se og Hor.

“As everyone surely understands this is a difficult situation both for me and those closest to me. This is really a matter that I would have preferred to keep to myself but on the other side I am a reasonably well-known person and there are surely many who have seen me going in and out of the hospital.”

AP-ES-06-20-05 1832EDT

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