One of my favorite days in New York is the Hall of Fame announcements. We get to see some of the key people in the development of the marathon and the New York Road Runners, and we also see George Hirsch’s NYRR Journalism award. Some fine people get their moment of recognition, and that is good. The class of 2017 (along with Tim Laydon for the GH Award) are prime examples of the fine cast of characters that have built this wondrous event.
Tom Fleming, Ryan Hall, Lornah Kiplagat, Orlando Pizzolato, and Norbert Sander to be inducted into NYRR Hall of Fame Class of 2017
George Hirsch Journalism Award to be presented to Sports Illustrated writer Tim Layden;Abebe Bikila Award recipient to be announced during TCS New York City Marathon race week
Public ceremony to honor inductees and award winners to take place at the TCS New York City Marathon Pavilion in Central Park on November 2 at 4:00 p.m.
New York, October 18, 2017— Running icons Tom Fleming, Ryan Hall, Lornah Kiplagat, Orlando Pizzolato, and Norbert Sander will make up the NYRR Hall of Fame Class of 2017, while Sports Illustrated writer Tim Layden will receive the George Hirsch Journalism Award, it was announced today by New York Road Runners. The Abebe Bikila Award recipient will be announced during TCS New York City Marathon race week. All seven award recipients will be honored on Thursday, November 2, at 4:00 p.m. at the TCS New York City Marathon Pavilion in Central Park. The event will be open to the public.
NYRR Hall of Fame
Tom Fleming is a member of the Road Runners Club of America Hall of Fame and the National Distance Running Hall of Fame. Sadly, he passed away on April 17, 2017 and will be inducted into the NYRR Hall of Fame posthumously. Fleming started running marathons as a teenager, including the inaugural New York City Marathon in 1970, when he placed second in 2:35. The New Jersey native won the race in 1973, running 2:21:54to top an international field and win an around-the-world ticket from Olympic Airways. He won again in 1975, the last year the race was held entirely in Central Park, and his time of 2:19:27 remains the only sub-2:20 ever run on that course. Fleming trained ferociously, logging up to 200 miles a week and inspired by the words he posted on his bedroom wall: Somewhere in the world there is someone training when you are not.
Ryan Hall, the fastest-ever American marathoner and half-marathoner, made his mark in the world of running at the high school, collegiate, and international levels. Hall’s breakout as a professional took place on the snow-covered hills of Van Cortlandt Park, where he stormed to the 2006 USA Cross Country Championship title. The following year he set the still-standing American half-marathon record of 59:43, which remains the only sub-1:00:00 time by an American. Hall won the 2008 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, held in Central Park on November 3, 2007. The following spring, he ran 2:06:17 at the London Marathon, making him the second-fastest American marathoner on a record-eligible course. Hall’s time of 2:04:58 at the 2011 Boston Marathon is the fastest ever by an American, though the point-to-point downhill course is ineligible for records.
Lornah Kiplagat, a three-time Olympian and four-time world champion, has held world-best times at 5K, 15K, 20K, and the half-marathon. Kiplagat won the NYRR New York Mini 10K four times. She set a personal best of 2:22:22 at the 2003 Osaka Marathon – when she still held Kenyan citizenship – before setting the Dutch record of 2:23:43 in New York City that November. She’s the founder of the High-Altitude Training Center in Iten, Kenya, a training facility for athletes of all abilities. She also founded the Lornah Kiplagat Foundation, which supports education for girls in Kenya with the inclusion of HIV/AIDS education, and provides opportunities for girls and young women to continue their studies in Europe and the United States.
Orlando Pizzolato of Italy won back-to-back New York City Marathons in 1984 and 1985. The first year, he took the lead at halfway and held on despite stopping six times due to cramping in the final four miles, with his victory instantly putting him on the map as a household name in the running community. With a second consecutive win, he proved he was no flash-in-the-pan by scoring a come-from-behind victory over World Cup champion Ahmad Saleh of Djbouti.He went on to win the silver medal in the 1986 European Championships Marathon and placed 15th in the marathon at the 1988 Seoul Olympics. Now, he owns and operates a company that offers running vacations, camps, and consulting, and provides scholarships to athletes ages 16-22.
Norbert Sander was a longtime member of NYRR’s Board of Directors and received the Heliodoro and Patricia Rico Lifetime Achievement Award from USA Track & Field in 2000, and the Abebe Bikila Award from NYRR in 2014. Sadly, Sander passed away on March 17, 2017 and will be inducted into NYRR Hall of Fame posthumously. Sander’s impact on the running community in New York City was unparalleled. Born in Yonkers, he was a member of the historic 1958 and 1959 Fordham Prep cross-country teams that won the New York City championships. Sander won the 1974 New York City Marathon and remains the only native New Yorker to have won the race. In 1992, Sander took on the revitalization of the Fort Washington Armory, which had been New York City’s premier arena for indoor track until the mid-1980s. He led a $25 million project to restore the facility to its former status, building a premier athletic facility where young athletes would compete and be inspired to continue their interest in track and field.
George Hirsch Journalism Award
The George Hirsch Journalism Award, established in 2010, recognizes excellence in the reporting, writing, and broadcasting of the sport of marathon and distance running.
Tim Layden, this year’s recipient, has written for Sports Illustrated since 1994, having covered 13 Olympic Games – including track and field and road racing. The upstate New York native has covered the New York City Marathon and New York Road Runner’s events for nearly three decades, including his tenure at Newsday from 1988-1994. In 2005, Layden wrote a reverberating feature about NYRR Team for Kids Ambassador Meb Keflezighi using the New York City Marathon to shed his image as a foreigner; the piece was entitled “I am an American.”
Abebe Bikila Award
The Abebe Bikila Award is presented to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the sport of distance running. This year’s recipient will be announced during the TCS New York City Marathon week.
About New York Road Runners (NYRR)
Founded in 1958, New York Road Runners has grown from a local running club to the world’s premier community running organization, whose mission is to help and inspire people through running. NYRR’s commitment to New York City’s five boroughs features races, community events, youth running initiatives, school programs, and training resources that provide hundreds of thousands of people each year, from children to seniors, with the motivation, know-how, and opportunity to Run for Life. NYRR’s premier event, and the largest marathon in the world, is the TCS New York City Marathon. Held annually on the first Sunday in November, the race features 50,000 runners, from the world’s top professional athletes to a vast range of competitive, recreational, and charity runners. To learn more, visit nyrr.org.