Most of you know George Hirsch as the former long-time publisher of Runner’s World, or chairman of the New York Road Runners. Those of us who remember (and treasure) the premiere issue of The Runner, from 1977, will tell you that George Hirsch revolutionized the publishing of running magazines. His upstart, The Runner, challenged Runners World from the day it started, landing great photography, iconic writers, key advertisers and the heart of serious runners. The Runner’s issue on the 1984 Olympic Trials is still, in my mind, one of the best running magazine issues of all times.
In 1986, the magazines combined and George Hirsch took over as publisher. I worked for George for about two years, and learn a lot. I used George as inspiration for much of my publishing over the years. Always come in as the quality leader in your publishing environment, Great editorial will draw a community, and last, but not least, Publishing is about relationships.Those are themes in George’s publishing history. I have been fortunate enough to keep in touch with him over the years, and look forward to seeing him at the major events. His contribution to the sport of running, and to the development of running media can not be underestimated. George Hirsch could give a master class in magazine publishing.
George is now publisher of Cucinna Italiana, the U.S. launch of a thriving gourmet title celebrating all good things Italian. And contrary to many print publications, Cucinna Italiana is doing quite well. I asked George how he continues to do it all, the travel, the publishing….Recently, he wrote to me that at the age of seventy-five, he is “feeling his age.”
Bill Rodgers once told me the story about running with George in a nor’easter, as they both needed to get in ten miles. He said that he learnt then, that George was one of the toughest runners he had ever met. I believe George’s personal best, in his late forties, was 2:38:44. In his sixties, I remember him breaking three hours on the very tough San Francisco marathon course.
That is not stopping him from running the fortieth ING New York City marathon. His letter (shown below) is run, with permission. It will be George’s last marathon, and he is asking us to celebrate with him by donating to some good causes. I hope you will contribute, as I will….
Recently Shay has given me permission to come out of marathon retirement and run the New York City marathon this year. I will go to Chicago this coming weekend and use it as a final long training run. Then on November 1, if all goes well, I will run New York for three of our favorite charities. My old friends Bill Rodgers and Frank Shorter (injuries permitting) will run the final miles with me and hopefully keep me upright if necessary. Then, unlike Brett Favre and Lance Armstrong I will retire from marathoning for good! Shay and I would greatly appreciate it if you made a contribution to one of these non profits or divide it among them. Please use the links to their sites. Shay and I will match all the contributions we receive. My race bib number is 75 to match my age.
Team for Kids. Under the dynamic leadership of Mary Wittenberg, the New York Roadrunners has greatly expanded it’s community outreach programs. Youth services headed by Cliff Sperber serves more than 100,000 young people with after school health and fitness programs. Many of the children are at high risk for diabetes, obesity and other diseases.
Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. When Shay was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, an incurable bone marrow cancer, back in 2002, we turned to the MMRF for advice and support. Founded by the extraordinary Kathy Giusti, the MMRF has been the leader in raising money for research to extend survival rates and find a cure for this disease.
Shoe4Africa began as a program to provide running shoes for children in Africa who often had no shoes at all. Founded by Toby Tanser and chaired by Anthony Edwards, Shoe4Africa is now committed to building the largest pediatric hospital in Africa in Eldoret, Kenya.
If you would prefer to make your contributions by check, please make them payable to the above non-profits and send to
George A Hirsch
111 Central Park North- 16A
New York, NY 10026
To read George Hirsch’s interview, please click: https://www.runblogrun.com/2009/06/rbr_interview_george_hirsch_by.html
For more on the sport of running, please click http://www.runningnetwork.com