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October 30, 2014

Neil Amdur

George Hirsch

Frank Litsky

German Silva

Georrge Spitz

Allan Steinfeld

Kathrine Switzer

Mary Wittenberg


THE MODERATOR:テつ Ladies and gentlemen, members of the press, thank you for joining us at the Jacob Javits Convention Center for our 2014 NYRR Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.テつ We look back to 2011 with our inaugural class, which included two Legends that helped make New York Road Runners and the New York City Marathon what it is today.テつ We're talking about Fred LeBow and the great Grete Waitz.
The following year we included Nina Kusick, Miki Gorman and Alberto Salazar into the induction class.
Last year, Ted Corbitt, Joan Benoit Samuelson and Bill Rodgers.テつ To my left, we welcome the 2014 incoming class, Allan Steinfeld, Kathrine Switzer, German Silva, and George Spitz, all of whom will be inducted here this afternoon.
Ladies and gentlemen, if that wasn't enough, we're also privileged to have legendary sports journalist Neil Amdur, who will be honored with the George Hirsch Journalism Award.
Now, ladies and gentlemen, without further ado, I'd like to introduce the president and CEO at the New York Road Runners.テつ Please welcome Mary Wittenberg.
MARY WITTENBERG:テつ This is a treat for all of us at New York Road Runners.テつ I am honored.テつ George and I are honored to welcome our hall of famers and Mr. Neil Amdur.テつ We both wanted to introduce each of the four hall of famers, so we had to negotiate a settlement where we each introduced two, but we will get to present together.テつ There's a lot to say about all of you.
So we will start with women first, Kathrine.テつ I think women everywhere have a lot to thank Kathrine Switzer for, that we know.テつ New York Road Runners has a lot to thank Kathrine Switzer for.テつ Some people are born to make a mark in the world in history.テつ Kathrine, I think more than most anyone I can think of, was born for her moment and for her role in this sport and in empowering women in all kinds of ways beyond our sport.
Kathrine, I think it is amazing thatテつ in1967, being the first woman to run the Boston Marathon officially, changing the game for women everywhere, and running, which today is a sport fueled by women in many areas, including the United States.
And it was incredible destiny that the photographer was there at the moment, and the whole photo was of Jock Semple, which represented the past, and Kathrine, the future.テつ And the iconic photo said a thousand, a million words.テつ All of that coming together was some of fate and a lot of determination when you think about Kathrine.
What's interesting to me is from a personality perspective, on top of that moment, I cannot imagine how anyone else could have been better suited than Kathrine for that moment because the moment alone was massive, but if it had ended there and, Kathrine, you had not been willing to work as tirelessly as you have for women and women in running, I just really believe we wouldn't be where we are today.テつ But you in your nature and your personality is such that you are and have been a relentless advocate, cheerleader, representative for our entire sport and so many other women.テつ So we are all so fortunate that you were born into the role that you continue to play today.
Personally, I'm pretty excited that rumor has it that you're going to run the marathon, Boston Marathon in 2017, the 50th anniversary.テつ And Kathrine keeps going strong, encouraging, I think, and really being a great model for all of us.
I said New York Road Runners has a lot to thank Kathrine for because everyone knows her Boston stories, but when you‑‑ and we have a lot of the early members of New York Road Runners here, and certainly Allan, but when you talk to people here in the early days that really were part of creating New York Road Runners and what is unique about New York Road Runners beyond the marathon, Kathrine was a huge force and Nina Kusick and Lynn Blackstone, and it was her apartment where Fred and others joined to plan the marathon in the earliest years.テつ These were the women out there running with the men.
And part of making running event a big deal beyond the marathon, most notably the 1972 New York Mini, which was the first ever all women's road race.テつ Back then, as many of you know better than I, but the AAU didn't allow women to run races, but Fred really had a point of view, well, there just aren't enough races for the women to run, so let's have one.テつ And Kathrine and Nina really were the faces of the New York Mini, and now we celebrate the Mini just so we remember the importance of allowing women to run and all that women can do.
But really Fred and Kathrine and Nina led that charge, and of course you know‑‑ we'll watch a video about Kathrine's role in creating the Avon International Running Circuit and getting women running globally as well as being a key figure in getting the Olympic marathon‑‑ women the opportunity to run in the Olympic marathon, and, of course, Joan Benoit Samuelson going on to win the first gold medal.
So it's a long list of credentials that Kathrine has and a story that many of you know, but I and George, on behalf of New York Road Runners, want to thank you for the role that you played day in and day out in the New York City area in working with Fred and Allan and others to offer running as a great way for women to be active not only at the marathon distance but at all distances.
So let's take a look at the video.
[Video played.]

MARY WITTENBERG:テつ Kathrine, we heard some of the awards.テつ Runners World, inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame,テつ National Distance Running Hall of Fame, 2003 New York Road Runner Abebe Biklia Award, 2004 Fred Lebow Award recipient.テつ The list goes on and on.テつ It's such an honor for the New York Road Runners on the anniversary of your win here in 1974 to induct you into the New York Road Runner Hall of Fame.テつ George, if you can come join me.
KATHRINE SWITZER:テつ We didn't know if we were actually supposed to say something, but finally someone said, well, you have two or three minutes.テつ So I'll just try to say a few things that were not on the video.
That is, first of all, of course, my incredible and devoted thanks to the New York Road Runners‑‑ George, Mary, your whole staff, the whole team before you guys and after you guys.
Mary, you can have‑‑ you said that I was destined to have that moment.テつ I actually believe that what happened at the Boston Marathon was an amazing series of coincidences, and destiny happens to people who just do the job.テつ If you finish the job, if you finish the course, that's what brings destiny, and that's what it really is all about.
I have to thank Jock Semple from the bottom of my heart because he gave the world one of the most galvanizing photos of the women's rights movement, that it lingers and it's more impactful today than it has ever been, but I also have to thank Jock Semple because he not only infuriated me for 24 miles, he inspired me.テつ He inspired me to make a wrong a right and to create opportunities for women in sports.
The vision came on the run, as it does for all of us who are runners.テつ We know you can't run and stay mad, and that sometimes running is your most creative experience.テつ In this case, the worst thing that ever happened in my life became the best thing that ever happened in my life‑‑ well, next to Roger Robinson anyway.
I think this is what I'd like to say.テつ A person can have belief, and they can have drive, but they need support.テつ I found that support in the family of the New York Road Runners, and always, always the men were here for us.テつ It wouldn't have happened without that support of that club and without the New York verve, without the belief of the guys who helped us every step of the way and believed in us.テつ Otherwise, it would have been just pushing water uphill.
Together we worked, we really worked hard, but it was an amazing time.テつ We were discovering a world, men and women alike, not only just running, but each other in a way that wasn't sexual or violent.テつ It was just, it's amazing what running had done for all of us.
And I can remember many nights‑‑ and, Lynn, I'm sure you share this and Nina‑‑ just sitting at Fred Lebow's Kitchen table, which was the heart of the New York Road Runners office those days, and discussing dreams and ambitions of how we could make this thing work.
New York is a big city and has wonderful media, wonderful guys like Frank Litsky and Neil Amdur, who was always in support of us, made it happen in a big way.テつ And put those creative, sometimes very wacky ideas into practice.テつ That inspired me, of course, to create the global program with Avon, and that inspired me then to work with a lot of other people to leverage the different international federations to get the women's marathon voted into the Olympic games, which, of course, was the game changer.
When anybody is recognized at the highest level of sport, the highest echelon, which in this case is the Olympic games, in the most arduous activity, people know that women count.テつ It was like getting the right to vote.テつ It was like the physical equivalent of getting the right to vote.テつ It was utterly amazing.
So I'd like to thank the New York Road Runners for that belief in making that happen.
And finally, I'd just like to say thank you on behalf of women everywhere because in a way, the revolution never ends.テつ I'm embarking on yet another one at age 67, just at the point I thought I was going to plant petunias and go jogging.テつ But that funny bib number, that 261 that you saw Jock Semple try to tear off my chest has now become a symbol for fearlessness, and it's starting a whole worldwide movement of fearlessness among women through running, with clubs, ambassadors, people talking to each other, a 261 Women's Marathon in Mallorca, everything.
I always wanted to get to places like Saudi and Mideast in North Africa, women behind closed doors who couldn't run, and I think we can do it now.テつ Again, it wouldn't have happened without the New York Road Runners support.テつ So thank you, thank you, thank you.
Thank you all.
MARY WITTENBERG:テつ Thank you, Kathrine.テつ You're really tempting me to get my first ever tattoo, Fearless 261, I like it.テつ We'll continue to get that message to women everywhere.
I have my words here that I will use to start the Pro Women's Race, and it will be:テつ Ladies, with the women's race, you will honor legends who have run before you, like our nine‑time New York City Marathon champion Grete Waitz, and this year's hall of fame inductee, Kathrine Switzer, who paved the way for all of you to run today.
Now, I just told you all the ways that Kathrine helped New York Road Runners and running.テつ Let me now share how Kathrine threatened the very existence of New York Road Runners.テつ This may be a little known story.テつ I have all information in Fred Lebow's book.
In 1983, Kathrine tried to hire Allan from Fred to be the race director and manager of the Avon Internationalテつ Running Series.テつ Fred relays in his book his concern about that, tremendous concern, and how even Kathrine knew, of all the potential that New York Road Runners would ultimately hold for Fred and Allan, and luckily Allan saw that light and stayed for‑‑
KATHRINE SWITZER:テつ Fred gave him a raise.
MARY WITTENBERG:テつ Fred gave him a raise.
KATHRINE SWITZER:テつ Let's get this right.
MARY WITTENBERG:テつ So actually, Kathrine was helping Allan.テつ Allan sounds like he's going to debate that.テつ It says here like ten years later you got a raise.テつ No, I'm joking.テつ We look forward to hearing about it.
But Allan, to me, is unsung hero in the New York Road Runners story.テつ Allan started in 1976.テつ The first race, Fred didn't even know the critical role that Allan played in the race, and still involved with us today, but working full‑time through 2005.テつ So almost 30 years with almost every waking hour spent in support of New York Road Runners.
We all know what Fred accomplished, and I think it's great to take Fred's words and hear what he had to say about Allan.テつ This is the book he wrote in 1983.テつテつ This is Fred, In the early days of my administration, when there were few races and few staff, I knew what everybody was doing all the time.テつ Now I don't.テつ I don't need to.テつ The primary reason for that is the presence of Allan Steinfeld, my second in command.テつ Allan is on top of everything, in a class by himself.テつ The preeminent technical genius in road racing.
Steinfeld at 38, still lean as a sprinter‑‑ that's always been true‑‑ which he was in his early college days when he ran the quarter and half mile.テつ He has a mop of dark curly hair and a beard.テつ A native New Yorker bearing degrees in electrical engineering and physics and was a Ph.D. candidate in radio astronomy when he left the higher levels of academia.テつ Before joining New York Road Runners, he taught math and physics and was a track coach at a suburban high school.テつ The headline, Allan is given less public attention than he deserves.テつ It is not only I who recognize him as a genius.テつ Inside and outside the official running world, he's known as a consummate master of crafting road races, and even in track and field, he's acknowledged‑‑ his expertise is acknowledged as a race official.テつ I think he'll be the next long distance running chair of the athletics congress, Et cetera.
At the 1984 Olympics, he was chief referee for the men's and women's marathon with overall responsibility for rules.テつ I was merely special adviser.テつ When it comes to timing, scoring, measuring courses, designing finish line systems, radio communications, tying everything together with computers, there's nobody else anywhere like Allan.テつ I never pretended to know much about all those areas.テつ If I didn't have Allan, maybe I would have been forced to educate myself about such things.テつ I only have to worry now about keeping him.テつ In 1983, there was a serious attempt to hire him away‑‑ that was Kathrine‑‑ to direct a corporate running program for a lot more money‑‑ I'll discuss that later.
Allan's strength is not just in technical areas as it once was.テつ As he's evolved, he's developed tremendous rapport with our sponsors, government officials, everybody.テつ He's great with the staff.テつ People are amazed at how different we are, differing in just about every respect, but we complement each other.テつ In just eight years that we've known each other, we've rarely had a serious disagreement‑‑ there was one, but we'll leave that to another story too.テつ It's a love triangle.テつ That's another day.テつ Not involving‑‑ anyway.
We may not always agree on day‑to‑day operations, but we definitely agree on the basic goals and purposes, the long range plan, and where we're headed.テつ Much of the success of the club and our marathon can be credited to Allan.テつ Whenever I decide to step down or I'm deposed, Allan is the only one I can see taking over this position both as Director of the New York City Marathon and as President of New York Road Runners.
I wish I'd had him in the very beginning, but he didn't come along until 1976, and then it was just in the nick of time.
So much what we celebrate‑‑ the marathon, the five borough events, the Fifth Avenue mile, the Empire State Building Run‑Uup, New York's role in helping start the London Marathon, the Berlin Marathon, the Tokyo Marathon, the L.A. Marathon, so many marathons around the world, Allan and Fred were a pair.テつ I think Fred highlights well the significance of Allan's role.テつ It's one thing to dream.テつ It's another thing to bring things to life.テつ Allan is someone who brings things to life.
I was especially privileged to get to be hired by Allan.テつ Allan hired me in 1998 as a corporate lawyer.テつ I really wanted to work in sports.テつ I was sure I'd work at one of the leagues or the like.テつ When I met Allan, I said this is what I want to do and this is who I want to work with.テつ And I had the privilege of a lifetime because Allan, from the moment I started, two weeks before the 1998 marathon, he literally‑‑ I was at his side for everything.テつ It was an unbelievable, unbelievable opportunity.
And Allan, I was a partner from the second I started with him.テつ What I found was exactly what Fred found.テつ Allan and I shared a vision.テつ Allan has great vision.テつ We literally‑‑ and a lot of people know, there's not many people who can say this.テつ We literally, I cannot think about one thing we disagreed on.テつ We had a slightly different perspective on charity running and how many people we shall allot versus a lottery.テつ Literally, in ten years, that's the only thing I can think of. テつSimilar ambition for the global influence this organization could have, similar ambition for really getting people moving well beyond the marathon, and I just believe that anything that you like about New York Road Runners today, Allan had a whole lot to do with in laying the foundation and creating the opportunities that my team and myself have been able to take advantage of these many years since.
Allan has remained for me an adviser, someone I can always go to, someone who always has his own point of view, always is astute, always analytical, and I personally feel so privileged to have worked side by side with Allan and to always know I can go to him at any moment and get a really great fresh perspective and one that's based in who we are and who we've always been.
So let's take a look at the video.
[Video played.]
MARY WITTENBERG:テつ Actually, I just remembered, so Allan and I, we believed in American distance running and all the like.テつ I just remembered another place that we didn't always agree on.
So the events, today we are really experts in events and youth programs, but back in the day, it's all events, right?テつ And the people who put on our events, today led by Peter Ciaccia, who has a lot of, I'd say, a mix of Fred and Allan, our event guys, women and men are critical to all this, right?テつ So as Phil and others know, Allan and the guys then who were in the event team‑‑ and they were all guys‑‑ called themselves grunts.テつ Like you're not the grunts.テつ Like we're going to celebrate you.テつ You're the most important people.テつ You're not the grunts.
I really didn't like this grunt thing.テつ They wore their jackets.テつ We're the grunts.テつ You're not the grunts.テつ Well, I'm reading along Fred's book‑‑ and I always read a few pages, but this is the first year in a long, long time I read the whole thing.テつ All of a sudden, I thought‑‑ I understood the importance of marathon grunts from Allan's point of view.テつ As Fred said.テつ He's talking about the hard work at the marathon operations.
Our people who do the heavy work have adopted the name of marathon grunts, and they wear special jackets so inscribed.テつ Allan's always proudly numbered himself among them as opposed to those who primarily deal with elite athletes and the press and all the like.
So, Allan, before we get to‑‑ I'm now willing to accept there are real positives to being a marathon grunt.テつ So before we get to your Hall of Fame Award, first you are part of the future, so you have so have the TCS New York City Marathon.テつ I think you should proudly wear Proud Marathon Grunt and Hall of Famer on your marathon jacket.
Now, Allan, we're going to give you your award.
ALLAN STEINFELD:テつ Thank you very much.テつ I'm honored and humbled, of course, as I always am, to have seen this.テつ It's 20 years since 1994, when I took over.
Let me tell you about 1994.テつ It was a weird year.テつ It was the best of types and the worst of times.テつ It was the best of times because we were celebrating our 25th running of the marathon.テつ We came out with a coffee top book, something special planned for the marathon, and Fred was in remission.テつ Unfortunately, come the spring of '94, Fred was no longer in remission, and we were all hoping, especially Fred and myself, that Fred would be alive to see what he's created for 25 years.テつ He unfortunately died on October 9th, a Sunday.
In 1994 I took over, and it was a weird day because we had the first major marathon winner in a woman from Africa, Tegla Loroupe.テつ She also won the second year as well, but that started a wave of Africans coming over to various races here and around the world, and they'd win them and set world records.
Also, German Silva, who's to be inducted today as well, I thought he was going to win the race when he was on Central Park south, then he talks a wrong turn at 7th Avenue, but he managed to come out, and German Silva won the race.テつ But during that time, I looked up at the sky, and I said, Fred, why me?テつ When he took the wrong turn.テつ And then when he caught Benjamin Peredes, his training partner, probably at 26 miles or so, and he won the race, I said, thank you, Fred.テつ And that is 1994, and the rest, as they say, is history.テつ Thank you.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Ladies and gentlemen, another round of applause, Kathrine Switzer, Allan Steinfeld.テつ Congratulations on your inclusion into a very elite club.テつ Obviously, if they weren't before, they're cemented as Legends in our sport.テつ Thank you for coming and spending time with us today.
As we continue on with the 2014 New York Road Runner Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, ladies and gentlemen, please welcome to the stage the New York Road Runners Chairman of the Board, Mr. George Hirsch.
GEORGE HIRSCH:テつ Good afternoon.テつ By even the dauntingly high standards of New York, George Spitz is a bona fide character.テつ A pacifist, a vegan who's been known for eating one uncooked meal a day.テつ Next month George turns 92, and he'll be doing on that day what he does every day, writing the history of New York City.
George is a political gadfly.テつ He's run for office in this town more times than I'm sure he can even remember.テつ In 2001, when he ran for mayor of New York, he was in the democratic primary, and the next day Jimmy Breslin described it this way.テつ Suddenly, out of these dusty men seated at a table and ready to bore a vibrant city, here comes George Spitz, old, bald, fighting to get words out of his mouth, sometimes looking completely coo‑coo.テつ He's a fabulous citizen of the city.
And while George may not always have the social graces, he more than makes up for in persistence, sincerity, and a childlike optimism, a belief that anything can happen.
And George keeps coming up with ideas.テつ How did he come up with this one almost 40 years ago?テつ Well, it was one of the several times‑‑ look, he's holding his hands.テつ He doesn't want to hear all this.テつ George held a lot of jobs, and I have to tell you he got fired from a lot of jobs.テつ Back then, he had a lot of time on his hands, and he been let go, he was always let go for fighting some good cause or protesting some inequity.テつ So he started running a lot more in Central Park, and he got himself pretty fit, and he went to Boston, and he ran a very respectable 3:20, and he came home, and he said, "New York's got to have a marathon.テつ Boston does.テつ We've got to run one through the five boroughs."
Well, Fred Lebow said, there's no way they're going to close down the city of New York for a running race.テつ So anyone who was a good friend of George's‑‑ and I've been for a long, long time‑‑ we start getting phone calls from George.テつ George pays no attention to the clock.テつ Most people, when the phone rings in their house, it's 1:00 in the morning, they get nervous.テつ I say, it's George.テつ So he starts making the case, and he keeps making it to pretty much anyone who'd listen, Lynn black stone, one of the originators, founders of the marathon.
Well, finally, he gets Percy Sutton, the Manhattan Borough President, to buy into this idea.テつ I think part of it is after a while you just get tired of saying no.テつ I think that's one of his secrets.
So we went down and met with the Mayor of New York then, Abe Beame, 1976, the city was on the verge of bankruptcy, crime was high, and the mayor agreed to stage a marathon in conjunction with the bicentennial, part of the tall ships.テつ The idea was to lift the spirit of the city, a little bit of that.
By now Fred had completely turned around.テつ He embraced the idea.テつ That, of course, was the magic that made it work.テつ And I recollect that day, when we spoke to the mayor, there was never a conversation at all about a second year or that this was going to be some on‑going event.テつ This was, as far as the discussion went, was a one‑time deal, and George was one of the runners in that 1976 marathon.
When I went over and talked to him a few weeks ago to tell him about this hall of fame, I said, George, what do you remember?テつ And he said, I remember when we came off the Verrazano Bridge and we entered into Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.テつ He said, all these people were screaming and yelling.テつ He said, I was shocked.テつ He said, I was totally shocked.
So here he was, this champion of lost causes, George Spitz, he finally had put it all together and what an idea he had.テつ What an idea, the New York City Marathon.
Ladies and gentlemen, let's look at a video about my old friend.
[Video played.]
GEORGE HIRSCH: Ladies and gentlemen, the one and only George Spitz.
GEORGE SPITZ:テつ In 1975, this year, Fred Lebow got an award, the first women's marathon in the United States, and that was a big thing, but he lost his sponsor, Olympic Airways, and he was very upset about it, couldn't afford publicity.
So Lynn Blackstone and myself volunteered to do the publicity for the '75 marathon, and we probably did a better job than most amateurs.テつ Percy Sutton, unlike previous guests, stayed around all through the race, and when the first woman‑‑ her name Kim Miller‑‑ came through the finish line, Brian Crawford said to Percy, put the wreath on her head.テつ Well, she dropped it and just caught it, and there was Percy grinning behind her, and Daily News took a picture front page, complete front page of the race, and it was a great success.
Percy was getting calls left and right.テつ So Lynn Blackstone volunteered to offer her apartment to have a meeting with Fred Lebow, Percy Sutton, Ted Corbitt, maybe one or two others came.テつ Fred Lebow was pessimistic.テつ He wanted to‑‑ he figured we would need at least $15,000 to run a five‑borough marathon.テつ Ted Corbitt said it could be done technically.テつ The next day Percy came back and said, I got the Rudin family to put up $25,000, and then Finn Air came in with some money too.テつ So it was a big success.
I think Lynn Blackstone deserves a lot of credit for this.テつ Her apartment and her work with me, getting the press to come cover the race, and it was a success.テつ The next year we had us a Five‑Borough Marathon, and we come down the hill, Bay Ridge, nobody from Bay Ridge was a member of the Road Runners Club.テつ So we were shocked to see people standing there in line applauding.
So I want to thank everybody for cooperating, and I know George Hirsch was great in cooperating with the race.テつ Fred was great for women, and so was Kathrine Switzer, Nina Kuscsik, Lynn Blackstone.テつ We got it done, and now there's as many women as men in the race.テつ Fred was a staunch believer in the women having a race, marathon, and he was stuck with no money because we lost our sponsor, Olympics Airways, but we managed, Lynn and I managed to get the press to attend.
I want to thank everybody for coming and listening to my story.
GEORGE HIRSCH:テつ He just asked me, did I say the right thing?テつ What do you think?
Five years ago on a promise to Shay, I said I was going to run my last marathon.テつ So I got a little extra mileage out of it, and that year I ran Chicago and then of course, a few weeks later I came and ran New York.
And German Silva was generous enough to run the first 10, 12 kilometers of each of those races with me.テつ It's a good way to end a career if you're a mid‑pack runner, believe me, to have someone like German encouraging you along.
When he won this race 20 years ago in what is clearly the most memorable finish we've ever had in the history of the New York City Marathon‑‑ you'll see the video‑‑ the media was delighted.テつ The race organizers were thrilled because here was a champion who was so charismatic and so fun and colorful and full of life that it was just‑‑ it was just the dream for all of us to have a champion like German.
And then over the years, of course he won the race the following year, but over the years, as we all came to know him, we realized this was a guy who was very special.テつ He was a person who used his running and his fame to give back constantly to kids, often underprivileged kids, to ordinary runners out there, or as he still even does today, coaching runners at the elite level.
Last week, Mary and I were invited to‑‑ this is very fun to say.テつ We were invited by the King of Spain to come and receive an award from him called the Prince of Asturias Award.テつ And we thought who better could embody the core values and the mission of the New York Road Runners better than German?テつ So German joined us in what really was an extraordinary four days that we spent.
Last Friday night we received this award, and it's a pretty big deal.テつ We didn't know all that for sure, but we quickly learned that this was an award that had been won by Nelson Mandela and Gorbachev and woody Allen and Rafael Nadal and on and on, Frank Gehry was one of our fellow honorees last Friday night.
But let me tell you, whether it was talking to the man on the street, some of the kids‑‑ we did a running program for kids when we were in Spain‑‑ and I mean this, just chatting with the King and Queen of Spain‑‑ there he was, authentic, natural.テつ German is German.テつ That is what you're always going to get.
All I want to say is, for me personally, it's a real privilege to be able to make this award because here is a world class runner who's got all the class in the world.テつ Mi amigo, mi hermano, German Silva.テつ First the video.
[Video played.]
GERMAN SILVA:テつ I'm short.テつ I still can't believe this.テつ Thank you very much, really.テつ Thank you, thank you, thank you.
I want to thank first my dad, who next year is going to be 90 years.テつ He passed away.テつ He wasn't a runner, but he gave me the best lesson in my life.テつ He gave me the best advice to face a marathon.テつ He did his marathon‑‑ his life was a marathon.テつ He starts as a young man who raised 13 children, including me, working hard every day, and the best he teach me was principles based in respect and loyalty and a lot of‑‑ and the best example.テつ And I remember still that advice about how to do my strategy for a marathon.テつ He told me, German, I don't know anything about running, but running a marathon must be like crossing a wild river.テつ You need to be‑‑ to make your own strategy, you need to have all your senses very active.テつ You have to work hard and train and never‑‑ and make your own strategy based on never get panic, never‑‑ have a confidence in yourself and remember where you come from.テつ That's the most important.
The living example that you have from the house, wherever you are, wherever you may be in life, the most important thing is what you want to do for yourself and for your family and for others.テつ That's the only way you will be remembered in life.
I deeply and honestly thank you because you who are in front for me, many of you, have been a part of my life, either‑‑ I still remember that first press conference, Jerry Loman was here.テつ He came to Mexico, and we together went to the Toluca, 4,000 meters, 13,000 feet.テつ I still remember "The New York Times" defeat on 13,000 feet.テつ He's running tomorrow his last marathon.テつ I don't believe tomorrow it's going to be his last marathon.
But most of you, Donnyテつ Riggs, of course, a friend,テつ and the faces I know, and honestly faces who are my family today.テつ But I say I can't believe because history is made by great moments.テつ George Spitz is great, great moments.テつ Allan Steinfeld had the best test in his life.テつ It was a job from Fred Lebow.テつ He was just testing him.テつ Kathrine Switzer opened the door for women and still keep doing.
But the most important from this induction is what's the responsibility we have with this?テつ What are we going to do with this?テつ Honestly, I want to thank the New York Road Runners club because New York Road Runners Club, New York Marathon changed my life in many ways, changed my life because I remember my dad for many, many years, to the with his friends, trying to bring electricity to my village, and they couldn't make it happen.テつ And after winning the New York Marathon, the press from Mexico and the Governor was calling and asking me, German, what do you need?テつ I don't need nothing.テつ I hope you can help me to bring electricity to my village.テつ And in two months, it happens, and I still remember you and all the volunteers from the New York Road Runners marathon, from the New York Road Runners club who are still out working, still doing their best, still are there.
That's what I mean by family.テつ I remember in 1995, after winning the second time, that Miranda was pregnant, and two days later, my daughter, my first daughter was there in the family.テつ Yeah, 1995, I didn't really have the motivation to continue running because that's when in July my dad passed away.テつ He lost his race same way as Fred did for cancer.テつ But then I told myself, no, I have another reason why train hard.テつ I'm going to be a father.テつ And I remember the principles of my dad.テつ He teach me.テつ And I'm sure he's going to be happy there looking that I'm doing my best and I am working hard.
So for me the most important in this induction‑‑ and I really appreciate it, and I say in the beginning I can't believe because this is the best opportunity I can be given by the New York Road Runners club.テつ Mary, George, I remember some good times we spend with you, and I'm sure we'll keep spending a good time.
But our responsibility, my responsibility now and on is to keep doing my best and keep doing the rule of happiness.テつ For me, the rule of happiness is love.テつ Every day I go to bed hoping the next day I can do what I love, and what I love is running and what I love is spending every day, even a small time with a runner or nonrunners.テつ All of us, even without running a marathon, we are marathoners because we are facing our marathon life, our life in marathon.テつ I don't know how to translate it, but I hope you can understand it.
Anyway, I'm sure I'm going‑‑ this is opportunity because, when I go back to my home, back to Mexico, or wherever I am in the world, I can keep doing with love what I like to do, help people.テつテつ And the best way to help people is encouraging them to invest in the best, which is our health, physical and mental.テつ Mentally, running is the best way of doing that.
And who knows?テつ We want to see the world running every day from children to grandparents, from 5K because that's where we begin.テつ In the last year, as I understand by coaching regular people, not elite athletes, you only need to be able to run a minute‑‑ not even to run.テつ To jog a minute to run a marathon.テつ The rest is just train your body, and the mathematics don't lie.
Thank you very much.テつ That's what I have to say.テつ Thank you.
MARY WITTENBERG:テつ I just want to add, I think this says a lot about actually all our hall of famers.テつ But talk about responsibility and humility.テつ That wrong‑way turn, first talk about, as Kathrine said, something that seemed bad becoming to positive.
So we were in Spain, and someone was talking to German about the wrong‑way turn and kept saying, that was the biggest mistake of your life.テつ How did you not know where you were going, and all this stuff, saying German went the wrong way.テつ And German graciously sat there and says, well, yeah, it was my mistake and et cetera, et cetera.テつ And I'm sitting there thinking, wait a minute, Allan, from the day I got there, said make sure you close the 7th Avenue.テつ Still today, Peter, are you sure we're closing the gate behind the press vehicle?テつ And I just said, Allan, whose fault was that?テつ He said, it was my mistake.
German sat there being so cordial when this person was talking about his mistake, and Allan says it was his mistake, and we make mistakes all the time.テつ Just remarkable, German.テつ I didn't chime in, but you kept just saying my mistake.
GERMAN SILVA:テつ My mistake.
MARY WITTENBERG:テつ As usual, it says a lot about both of you.
GEORGE HIRSCH:テつ Well, we all know what German is going to be doing on Sunday.テつ So we'll be following your race, as always, out there, cheering people along while he's running.テつ It will be just great.
This is an introduction to someone who's going to make an introduction.テつ Last year's winner of our journalism award was Frank Litsky, and Frank is a person that, if you follow the sport of running or sports in general, you know that name.テつ He joined The New York Times in 1958, and he wrote more than 3,700 stories in The New York Times during those years.
I haven't seen your by‑line, frank, since last week when there was an owe bit wary of the UCLA great swim coach.テつ So somehow or other they still are getting their money's worth out of him.
He, for years, has been the dean of track writers.テつ He was the president of the Track Writers Association, and he would preside over luncheons that most of us up here certainly has been to at one time or another, and he always did it with fairness and wisdom.テつ So to make the next introduction, Frank Litsky.
FRANK LITSKY:テつ Thank you, George.
I've known Neil Amdur for 47 years, since he came to The New York Times.テつ He's one of the most remarkable people I know, not just in journalism, but in everything.テつ Remember that woody Allen movie Zelig?テつ Zelig was the guy that's always there.テつ Neil was always there.テつ He's always been there.
Before he came to the Times, he worked for the Miami Herald.テつ He covered a University of Florida football game for them in 1965.テつ After the game, he saw‑‑ he noticed that in front of the Florida bench were a lot of empty milk cartons.テつ What would milk cartons be doing?テつ Are players getting milk during the game?テつ So Neil looked into it, and he found that something no one else had even thought about looking into, he found that the University of Florida people were trying to develop, and they were‑‑ it wasn't ready yet in full, but it was doing pretty well.テつテつテつ And the players were using it during the game.テつ You may have heard about this.テつ The name of it is Gatorade.
And in 1972, Neil was at The Times. The Times was desperately trying to get a reporter into Cuba.テつ It was Fidel Castro's Cuba, and what was Cuban life like?テつ And Cubans resisted.テつ They wouldn't let anybody in.テつ One day Neil's on a plane flying from somewhere down south, flying back home after an assignment.テつ The plane got hijacked to Havana.テつ Well, The Times finally had a reporter there, and Neil called us, and we all got on the phone.テつ We were desperately hoping that no one would say, Neil, find out how people live in Cuba.テつ Neil was too wise for that.テつ He said, maybe I can find some sports stories here to write about.
The phone calls all had to be listened into.テつ Nothing was free there.テつ So Neil found‑‑ looked for and found a former world boxing champion, Kid Chocolate, who was a Cuban, and he arranged to go see him at his apartment, and Neil described the apartment, described the neighborhood.テつ He did exactly what The Times wanted but had it masked so well that I don't think the Cubans to this day knew what he was doing, but it was a remarkable story.テつ It was one of the great things The Times, I think, has ever done.
There are a lot of other things that Neil has done.テつ He left The Times twice, and The Times usually didn't take people back when they left.テつ You don't leave The New York Times
the first time he went to CBS‑TV, and he became a producer of NFL football and tennis.テつ People don't just walk into a network without a background and become producers.テつ Neil did.テつ Later he left and became editor of World Tennis and really revived it.
He returned to The Times in 1990 as sports editor and held that job for 12 years.テつ I work for the times in all for 50 years.テつ I worked for six or seven sports editors, some of them really, really good, but Neil is the best, remarkable.テつ He turned out a great sports section, forever breaking stories.テつ The whole world was trying to catch up to what The New York Times was doing.テつ He recruited great writers.テつ The Times thought so much of what he was doing there that they made him a senior editor out of sports, and he was recruiting‑‑ they wanted him to recruit all over the country because Neil knew people everywhere.テつ He knew where all the good writers were, and he did that.
He also at The Times had an organization for many years called Amdur Productions.テつ You know it's illegal, cartels are illegal, this was a cartel.テつ He did newspaper stories, magazine stories, not just sports.テつ Movie scripts.テつ Neil collaborated on as through books by Arthur Ashe, Chris Evert and Vince Matthews.テつ These aren't the gosh golly books.テつ These are books with meaning from people with meaning.
Neil spoke at a college graduation.テつ Who does that?テつ His cartel incorporates his wife Marilyn and his son Michael, smart guy.
No journalist has done more to understand what the New York City Marathon has done for this city.テつ He covered the marathon when it wasn't the worldwide wonder it is now.テつ No journalist had never explained it more to the public.テつ He brought new fame to Frank Shorter and Bill Rodgers.テつ He turned Grete and Tegla into first‑name celebrities.テつ New York City owes so much to him for making this marathon what it is today.
This award is named for a one of a kind gentleman who has done so much for so many.テつ This year's winner is also a one of a kind gentleman who has done so much for so many.テつ So it gives me great pleasure to introduce and help honor my friend, Neil Amdur.
NEIL AMDUR:テつ I have to say that this is really more than a special moment for me.テつ To thank the Road Runner Club for this kindness and following in the footsteps of some pretty heavyweights on that mantel who have received the George Hirsch Award, including my esteemed colleague Frank Litsky, is no small turn.
I don't think people realize, even in this room, how special the marathon is.テつ Take a look around in sports today and look at what you see out there.テつ Pro football with concussions and domestic violence.テつ Basketball with their problems.テつ You get a great one by Madison Bumgarner last night that makes you think about baseball.テつ Hockey still trying to deal with their lessons as the fourth sport.
And I think running sometimes takes itself for granted because they don't realize how special they really are.テつ And that's why, when I was a reporter for The New York Times for so many years, when I took on running as an assignment as part of track and field, it was important to make sure that running got its place.
And I don't think many of you realize, when Fred Lebow was at these track writers luncheons in his warmup suit. The last person on the program when all the college coaches would leave, and Fred would be there talking to almost no one who would listen because what is he going to talk about, running?テつ He was ignored, spoofed, and people thought, what are they talking about?テつ Because runners were this obscure breed.テつ These people who were off on their own.テつ These cerebral thinkers going somewhere.
1976 has been talked about here today.テつ I covered that race.テつ I wrote the first stories about how they were planning to do it.テつ Think about it.テつ There were 2,005 runners total for that first race.テつ 88 women.テつ Nobody thought it was going to happen because nobody thought New York would make that sacrifice.テつ And yet James Earl Jones' father, Robert Earl Jones, 71 years old, ran that race.テつ He was in The Sting with Redford earlier, but he wanted to run it.テつ He finished in under seven hours, and that was his goal.
Ken Gibson, the mayor of Newark, ran the '76 New York Marathon and finished.テつ And these were people, forgetting who the stars were like Billy Rodgers, Boston Billy, and the Olympic champion Frank Shorter, they were the stars, but what made it interesting were the New Yorkers who decided to run it.テつ 88 women.テつ And now when I walk in today into this lavish city that is the New York City Marathon and I see more women than men, it makes and does my heart good because it's an inclusive event.
Think about it.テつ How many other events where the women get that equal stage? Not even women's soccer compared to the men.テつ Not even the WNBA compared to the men.テつ There's a horse racing jockey, but what does she get?テつ A little bit.テつ But here at the New York City Marathon, the women are here in force.
And that's what's made it special, and that's what's always made it special for me because, as a reporter who covered the women's movement in tennis and the women's movement in general for equality with Title IX, running provided that opportunity.テつ And as sports editor, many of my greatest satisfactions were hiring women to my staff, besides Jere Longman, who was here today, and Bill Pennington, but Liz Robbins and Selena Roberts, and LeeAnn Wilcox, who were not only good journalists, but really good athletes as well, and people above all.
So I want to take this opportunity to say that don't ever take the marathon for granted because I think it's special.テつ It's more than special.テつ It's just something that has been a unifying force for this city and for people.テつ I've been running for 45 years, since high school, and it's very special for me.テつ It's thinking time.テつ I can go out on a run and organize and think, pray, do a lot of things because it's my time.テつ Don't take it for granted because it's one of those places that's very special, and on Sunday I'll be watching.テつ And the journalists that are here, John from Newsday, is still doing it.
Jere Longman, who I roomed with at the Atlanta Olympics, and we went out for morning runs when it was 85 degrees and 95 percent humidity, is still doing it and is going to keep running, and Walter Murphy, who is endurance beyond and still doing it.
You people are special, and I think we've come to realize that part of why we like covering the marathon is because it's special, and as we look around and we see other sports and we realize that, yes, we have something special.テつ If you can fill the unforgiving minute with 60 seconds worth of distance run, yours is the earth and everything that's in it.テつ As Kipling said, once more you'll be a man my son.テつ Thank you very much.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Ladies and gentlemen, Neil Amdur, once again, congratulations.テつ Thank you for the history.
Ladies and gentlemen, one more round of applause for the 2014 class, Kathrine Switzer, Allan Steinfeld, German Silva, and George Spitz.テつ The S's have it here today.テつ Congratuations. Ambassadors and facilitators of our sport.テつ None of us would be here at this race without you. Thank you for your time.テつ Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for coming out.テつ That concludes today's event.テつ Certainly, they'll be on hand for questions afterwards, if you have any brief statements you'd like to make.テつ They are up here for a while.
Thank you guys.テつ Enjoy the expo, and we'll see you Sunday morning on the course.

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