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4 Added to NYRR Hall of Fame

german silva

German Silva, George Spitz, Allan Steinfeld, and Kathrine Switzer — will comprise the 2014 NYRR Hall of Fame class, and former sports editor at the New York Times Neil Amdur, will receive the George Hirsch Journalism Award

NEW YORK – Four of distance running’s greatest revolutionaries—Germán Silva, George Spitz, Allan Steinfeld, and Kathrine Switzer—will comprise the 2014 induction class of the NYRR Hall of Fame, and president and owner of Amdur Productions and former sports editor at the New York Times Neil Amdur, will receive the George Hirsch Journalism Award, it was announced by Mary Wittenberg, president and CEO of New York Road Runners, and George Hirsch, chairman of the board of New York Road Runners. All five award-winners will be honored at the 2014 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Press Conference and Presentation of the George Hirsch Journalism Award on Thursday, October 30, at 3:00 p.m. at the Race-week Media Center at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.

The NYRR Hall of Fame, adding its fourth induction class since its creation in 2011, honors individuals for their extraordinary accomplishments in the sport of distance running.

“The 2014 NYRR Hall of Fame induction class has exponentially elevated the sport of distance running to the level of awareness it stands at today, providing global outreach to millions to lead healthy, active lifestyles through running,” said Wittenberg. “Without the courageous leadership of Germán, George, Allan, and Kathrine to selflessly strive for excellence in the world of running, organizations like NYRR could not have evolved in the ways we have. We salute their impeccable leadership and commitment to improving lives through running.”

Silva, of Mexico, is a repeat champion of the New York City Marathon (1994, 1995) and the 2011 Abebe Bikila Award recipient, remembered best for recovering from a wrong turn into Central Park 25.5 miles into his first victory. “Wrong Way Silva,” as he became known, charged down the last straightaway to win by two seconds after losing his share of the lead by 12 to 13 seconds. In addition to his impressive athletics résumé, which includes third place at the 1994 London Marathon, a silver medal at the 1994 IAAF World Half-Marathon Championships, and a pair of sixth-place finishes at the 1992 and 1996 Olympic Games in the 10,000 meters, he is renowned for his incredible humanitarian efforts. He has donated winnings to bring electricity to his village, organizes events to encourage running in rural communities, and distributes running shoes to children throughout Mexico.

Spitz is the father of the five-borough New York City Marathon, which began in 1976. Spitz’s idea for the five-borough marathon became a reality after he presented the idea to the then Manhattan borough president, Percy Sutton, and eventually persuaded NYRR president and marathon co-founder Fred Lebow. He graduated with an economics and accounting degree from Columbia University in 1949 after serving as a radio mechanic in the Air Force during World War II. An avid runner, Spitz has completed more than two dozen marathons.

Steinfeld is the former president and CEO of NYRR and former race director of the New York City Marathon. An NYRR member since 1963, he joined the NYRR staff in 1978, working for and leading the organization until 2005. Born and raised in the Bronx, Steinfeld attended Hunter College, where he became a star sprinter and learned to love the sport and benefits of running. Upon graduating and earning his master’s degree in electrical engineering and radio astronomy from Cornell University, the 2009 Abebe Bikila Award recipient took the sport of running to new levels, serving as the meet director of the Goodwill Games, the New York Games, and the USATF Indoor National Championships and as the chief referee of the 1984 men’s and women’s Olympic marathons.

Switzer made history in 1967 by becoming the first woman to run the Boston Marathon with an official bib number, despite efforts made by event organizers to remove her from the course. Switzer moved to Virginia from Germany at a young age, finding empowerment in running, which eventually led to her famous Boston Marathon performance. The champion of both the 1974 New York City Marathon and the 1975 Boston Marathon became a crusader for women’s sports as the director of Avon Sports Programs—a series of women’s races that paved the way for the inaugural women’s Olympic marathon in 1984. She is a prominent journalist, author, and television commentator and has received numerous awards for her accomplishments, including the 2003 Abebe Bikila Award, inaugural induction into the National Distance Running Hall of Fame, the 2000 Fred Lebow Award, and 2011 induction into the National Women’s Hall of Fame.

The George Hirsch Journalism Award recognizes excellence in the reporting, writing, and broadcasting of the sport of marathon and distance running. Amdur is the award’s fifth recipient since its establishment in 2010.

“Perhaps Neil Amdur’s love affair with the sport of running began as a high school quarter-miler at Plymouth High School in Pennsylvania. As a writer, editor, and finally the sports editor of the New York Times, Neil has a passion for track and field, and later for distance running, that did as much as that of any other journalist to heighten the public’s awareness of the sport,” said Hirsch. “His biography of Vince Matthews, the 1972 Olympic champion at 400 meters, was one of the best-received sports books of its time.”

Amdur was a pioneer among sports journalists, especially among running and track and field reporters. He covered Frank Shorter’s Olympic marathon victory in 1972, the first five-borough New York City Marathon in 1976, and thrilling New York City Marathon victories by Alberto Salazar and Grete Waitz. He also covered the massacre at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games and became the first journalist to write about being onboard a hijacked commercial airplane. After serving as a CBS football and tennis producer, he made it big as the editor-in-chief of World Tennis magazine from 1984 to 1990 and as the New York Times sports editor from 1990 to 2002. He scripted and appeared in numerous films, authored many books, and continues to run his multimedia company, Amdur Productions, which he incorporated in 1975.