George Hirsch to receive Legacy Award for 17 years of service
New York, October 20, 2022 — New York Road Runners (NYRR) announced today that Staten Island’s greatest distance runner Art Hall and four-time TCS New York City Marathon champion Mary Keitany will be inducted into the NYRR Hall of Fame as the Class of 2022. This year’s NYRR Hall of Fame class, along with the George Hirsch Journalism and Abebe Bikila Award recipients will be recognized at NYRR’s Night of Champions on Friday, November 4 during TCS New York City Marathon race week. Additionally, George Hirsch, in his final year as the Chair of the NYRR Board of Directors, will be honored at NYRR’s Night of Champions with the Legacy Award for his service and dedication to the organization over the last 17 years.
NYRR Hall of Fame
The NYRR Hall of Fame, established in 2011, has honored legendary figures in the sport of road running who have made NYRR and the TCS New York City Marathon what they are today.
“It is an honor to induct the late Art Hall and the heroic Mary Keitany into the NYRR Hall of Fame in recognition of the tremendous impact they have had on our sport,” said Kerin Hempel, CEO of New York Road Runners. “Art was an accomplished runner and a trailblazing leader in our local running scene who was a catalyst for more inclusivity in distance running. Mary, with four TCS New York City Marathon titles to her name, is one of the most highly decorated female distance runners in history who has continued to serve as a role model for women and mothers everywhere.”
Hall was a Harlem native mentored by Ted Corbitt, and he was a constant presence on the New York area running scene starting in the early 1970s. Corbitt recruited him to join the New York Pioneer Club, and weeks later he took second place at the national 25K championships. He then moved to Staten Island and started racing relentlessly, pushing the boundaries for Black runners, who at the time were told they could sprint but not prevail over long distances. Hall finished in the top six at the New York City Marathon four times in the 1970s and won the 1975 Penn Relays Marathon. He served on NYRR’s Board of Directors, founded Staten Island’s North Shore Track Club, and co-created the Urban Running program, which provided free running clinics to New York City public schools in the 1980s and eventually sparked the idea for NYRR’s free youth running programs. Hall passed away in 2011.
“This award would be humbling for my father and humbling for my family,” said his son, Art Hall IV. “I don’t believe that my father raced and invested in NYC road running for accolades. I believe he truly loves the sport and desires for everyone regardless of race or color to do their best. It is an honor for my father to be recognized by New York Road Runners. All of the previous inductees made tremendous contributions to the sport. For my father to be recognized among the greats is tremendous.”
Keitany won four TCS New York City Marathons, including three consecutively from 2014 to 2016. Her 3:34 margin of victory in 2016 was the greatest in the women’s race since 1980, and she became the first open division runner since Grete Waitz to win the event three years in a row. She was also runner-up twice at the marathon and a three-time winner of the New York Mini 10K. Keitany remains the world record-holder in a women-only marathon, having won the 2017 London Marathon in a time of 2:17:01, which was one of her three London Marathon victories. In Kenya, she helped fund and build a school and church in her village, and in 2019, she was invited to the Vatican to meet with the Pope, who blessed her for all of her accomplishments.
“The TCS New York City Marathon was always a highlight on my racing calendar, and I am honored to be chosen for the NYRR Hall of Fame,” Keitany said. “I would not be where I am today without the support of New York Road Runners and all those New Yorkers who lined the streets to cheer me on for so many years.”
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. This year’s recipient will be Toni Reavis, a pioneer in the coverage of distance running on radio, television, and in print who has covered the sport for more than 40 years. From his seminal Runner’s Digest radio show in Boston in the 1970s, to his long stint hosting ESPN’s Road Race of the Month TV series, to his coverage of all of NYRR’s premier events,
Reavis has told the stories of running to nearly two generations of running enthusiasts and has been referred to as “the most insightful – and funny – talking head in running” by Runner’s World.
“Receiving the prestigious George Hirsch Journalism Award represents a high point in my career,” Reavis said. “From my radio and newspaper days working with Fred Lebow and Allan Steinfeld when running first garnered media attention, to my many years as a TV analyst when Mary Wittenberg and then Peter Ciaccia were at the helm, my long association with NYRR has been both professionally and personally rewarding. This recognition, especially as it comes in George’s name, is an honor I will truly cherish.”
Abebe Bikila Award
The Abebe Bikila Award is presented to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the sport of distance running, and it was previously announced that this year’s recipient would be Nina Kuscsik, a trailblazer for women’s running.