Marathon greats Haile Gebrselassie, Tegla Loroupe, Paula Radcliffe and Paul Tergat will be inducted into the New York Road Runners Hall of Fame, Class of 2015, with Gebrselassie also receiving the 2015 Abebe Bikila Award, and award-winning running journalist Marc Bloom receiving the 2015 George A. Hirsch Journalism Award, it was announced today by New York Road Runners.
All five award winners will be honored at the 2015 NYRR Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Abebe Bikila and George A. Hirsch Journalism Award Presentations on Thursday, October 29 at the TCS New York City Marathon Pavilion in Central Park.
“New York Road Runners and those involved in the sport of distance running are incredibly fortunate to have witnessed the stellar performances and contributions of Paula, Tegla, Paul, and Haile throughout their careers,” said Peter Ciaccia, president of events for NYRR and race director of the TCS New York City Marathon. “Their record-setting and medal-winning runs raised the sport to new heights, and they have selflessly used their leadership in the sport as a positive platform for change and inspiring people of all ages and abilities to improve their lives through running.”
For his outstanding contributions to the sport of distance running, both on and off the race course, Gebrselassie will also be the 2015 recipient of the Abebe Bikila Award.
Gebrselassie—who has held world records from 2,000 meters through the marathon—has established himself as a successful businessman and a mentor to young runners via the G4S 4teen program, which brings together young athletes from all over the world to work toward the goal of winning a gold medal at the Olympic Games. The award is named for the legendary 1960 and 1964 Olympic marathon champion from Ethiopia and has been presented annually by New York Road Runners since 1978. Past recipients include Grete Waitz, Fred Lebow, Bill Rodgers, Allan Steinfeld, Paul Tergat, Germán Silva, and the 2014 recipient, Dr. Norbert Sander.
“We are very pleased to present Haile with this year’s Abebe Bikila Award, acknowledging a career of superb athletic and humanitarian achievements,” said Michael Capiraso, president and CEO of NYRR. “Haile mirrors the athletic talent and integrity of Abebe Bikila, attaining the highest accolades in distance running and giving back to the sport and his home country equally as much. From helping kids in the G4S 4teen program achieve their Olympic dreams, to providing hundreds of people in Ethiopia with jobs through his personal business ventures, Haile has transcended the role of an athlete and become an international philanthropist.”
Also on Tuesday, AKTIV Against Cancer announced that Mary Wittenberg, Global CEO of Virgin Sport and former CEO of the NYRR, will be the first recipient of the AKTIV Against Cancer Award, which will be presented at a ceremony on October 27 at The Blue Water Grill in New York City as part of the Foundation’s first-ever North American fundraising luncheon. George Hirsch, Chairman of New York Road Runners (NYRR) will present Wittenberg, the former president and CEO of the NYRR, with the award.
“I am honored to accept this award on behalf of all the millions of people Grete impacted around the world through her running and her philanthropic work,” Wittenberg said. “Grete’s spirit lives on through the AKTIV Against Cancer foundation and the generations of runners and cancer survivors she has inspired.”