I asked Jeff Benjamin to ask some of the friends of Allan Steinfeld to honor our late, great friend. Allan Steinfeld, with his thoughtfulness and humor filled way, changed our sport for better.
I edit this with a smile, and tears, as the moving thoughts of Allan’s friends (and many more on social media) continue to go through my mind.
Here is Jeff Benjamin’s excellent remembrance of our friend, the late and still great, Allan Steinfeld.
Allan Steinfeld Remembered
“Allan devoted his life to the sport as a grassroots high school coach up to the prestigious position of Director of NYC Marathon. Allan was always considered “a good guy” who was willing to remain in the background when Fred Lebow took the event and the NYRR to its great heights, but was really the braintrust behind the scenes. Allan brought a great expertise in track & field which encouraged the NYRR to sponsor some of the best known international events throughout the 1990’s. Allan was always a great supporter of the Armory and its vast high school and youth outreach and always supported my own efforts at the NYRR to gain its backing which has meant so much to our organization.
“I met Allan Steinfeld when I started running and volunteering in 1979. He introduced me to the New York Road Runners Club(the “Club” was dropped years later) finish line and scoring system which I later learned he had basically developed. This system was really the one that allowed accurate timing and scoring of road races with hundreds and thousands of participants. I would help him and the NYRRC team set up for a race, then run, then hop into the scoring trailer and start scoring – often I worked on the women’s awards results. Allan encouraged me as a runner, brought me along to workouts at Manhattan College with Warren Street, then coached by Tracy Sundlun. Over the years, Allan and Alice became good friends. In addition to working together at the NYRR races, we sometimes went to races in Flushing Meadows Park to run;and we generally went to the same Thanksgiving Dinners and Passover Seders. In later years, I hosted Thanksgiving Dinner and in 2016 I hosted the Seder. Allan had led the Seder in past years and this year, while unable to lead, he was an active participant as we went around the table with each person reading a paragraph of the Haggadah. Allan was also active in USA Track and Field (then TAC) as an administrator and a competition official and this inspired me to do the same. In 2015, USATF honored Allan with the USATF Robert Giegengack Award in 2015 for outstanding volunteerism during the their Annual Meeting in Houston; this is one of their top awards. As Allan wasn’t able to attend, I had the honor of accepting the award on his behalf.”
-Phil Greenwald- Longtime NYRR Stalwart and currently VP of Finance for USATF-New Jersey
“Allan and Fred were amazing and total pioneers. It is with sadness and with loss to me on hearing of the passing of my wonderful friend Allan Steinfield.
I met Allan with Fred Lebow in 1975 @ the Milrose Games. I liked them both immediately -they were enthusiastic “running” organizers and passionate Road Running pioneers. Then in 1980 I reconnected with them when I started to run in the New York Road Runners Club events. The New Years Mid Night Run was a big one and Allan was at his best with his precise instructions for protocol and timing. Over the years Allan set the standard for Races World Wide – he truly was a professional.
There were hundreds of Running and Race events he consulted on and with absolute attention to detail, I witnessed this during the development and management of the City of Los Angeles Marathon. I’m at a loss for sure, always loved Allan
RIP Allan, a great friend.”
-Rod Dixon 1983 NYC Marathon Champion currently Leader of the KIDS Marathon Program -Also Olympic Coach and Advisor to the USA City Games
“I will miss Allan’s calm, quiet, yet hard working demeanor that made road running in the 70-80s so successful! Allan was the “man behind the curtain” as the NYC Marathon Oz! A great friend and I could always trust his opinion! I will miss him!”
Tom Fleming-2-time NYC Marathon Champion – Currently high School XC/T&F Coach at Montclair Kimberley Academy
“Hearing that Allan Steinfeld died earlier this week gave me pause to think back to my earliest days and dealings with the NYRRC. Fred Lebow and Allan Steinfeld were the “ying and yang” of the NYRRC and every major event that the club attempted. Fred was the charismatic very public “front man” that dealt with the sponsors, media, and the general public, Meanwhile, Allan was the quiet genius behind the scenes who dealt with all things technical… from timing systems, finish line design, start line design, runner safety on course, and also course measurement…. and, most certainly all the many NYRRC volunteers necessary to make the event happen. Both were smart and on the cutting edge of our sport back in the late 70’s and early 80’s when the marathon and a couple other of their events were really hitting their stride. The fact that they were perfecting their craft in NYC …on one of the “biggest stages” in the world… put them on the front line of our sport… helping set trends in event management that many others followed. Allan Steinfeld was especially prominent nationally and internationally in helping to create course measurement standardization and developing new and better finish line design with result tabulation. Finally, Allan was especially valuable in helping the NYRRC to manage through the transition that the NYRRC was forced to make after Fred Lebow died. From my humble perspective at a distance, he helped the club and the marathon maintain its identity and tradition while the NYRRC were training other people to assume the management roles and void that Fred’s death left them in. The NYRRC had many important people that helped make the club and the marathon internationally famous… but Fred and Allan were two of the biggest and most public faces at that time. They have both left an indelible mark on our sport. It is also worth noting that Allan’s wife also died in the last year and she and Allan made a tremendous working/management team at the races for the NYRRC.”
-Craig Virgin – 3 time Olympian and 2-time World XC Champion
“It’s with sadness that I say good bye to Allen Steinfield. I first met Allen at the Perrier 10k in Central Park in the spring of 1981. He and Fred where just starting there journey together.
Allen was a quiet guy behind everything that was great happening in New York. He was Fred’s go to guy. He was the man that made it happen on race day.
RIP friend. You have left your mark on NYC and it will live on for ever.
-Geoff Smith-2-time Boston Marathon Champion and many-time winner of NYRRC Central Park race’s during the 1980’s
From Kathrine Switzer’s Facebook page – used with permission
Allan was deeply committed to running and did much to expand running programs and add the technology that could record and report race results. Runners of all ages and from everywhere on the planet had a good friend in Allan Steinfeld.
This year as I run the TCS NYC Marathon I’ll be thinking of Allan.”
38-time finisher of the TCS NYC Marathon- Currently Press Steward at the Armory.
But Allan’s quiet, self-effacing, behind-the-scenes demeanor almost cost him … AND the sport. When Fred Lebow, President of the New York Road Runners Club and the Race Director of the New York City Marathon died, there were a number who questioned whether Allan should have been his successor, despite his being Fred’s choice and the Technical Director for the Marathon and the clear #2 at the Club. I remember as if it was yesterday the phone calls I got lobbying for others — one in particular. I can also remember my response. “Allan has earned the opportunity. He will be different, but he will be great.” And oh boy, was I right! He was even greater than I imagined! Rest In Peace, my teammate, my role-model, my friend …”
Co-Founder, Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series
President & Executive Director, Metropolitan Athletics Congress, 1982-1997