Six Decades of New York Road Runners History: 1970-1979

Six Decades of New York Road Runners History: 1970-1979

In 2018, NYRR is celebrating 60 years of helping and inspiring people through running. Last month, we chronicled the organization's humble beginnings in Six Decades of New York Road Runners History: 1958-1970. This month, we're jogging back in time to the 1970s.

Fred Lebow (far right) helped spur running into a global phenomenon.

The 1970s were a decade of tremendous change for NYRR. Fred Lebow, who had joined the organization in 1969 and co-founded the New York City Marathon in 1970, took the reins as the organization’s president in 1972. An iconoclastic showman who made his living in the garment business, Lebow at first seemed an unlikely leader of the “running boom” that was sweeping the country. But his belief in the power of running to change lives and communities spurred the transformation of NYRR into a world-renowned organization and running into a global phenomenon.

Continue reading: NYRR in the 1970s: Through the Eyes of Fred Lebow

 The NYRR Midnight Run took place for the first time on New Year’s Eve in 1979. 

The NYRR Midnight Run took place for the first time on New Year’s Eve in 1979. 

Lebow and NYRR led the way with first-ever events—including the NYRR New York Mini 10K women’s-only road race in 1972 and the NYRR Midnight Run on New Year’s Eve in 1979—and programs, such as the running classes for adults and “pee wee runs” for children.

Continue reading: NYRR in the 1970s: A Decade of Firsts

Bill Rodgers's victorious 2:10:10 finish at the 1976 New York City Marathon was the world's fastest marathon time that year.

Perhaps most transformative of all, NYRR staged the first mass-participation marathon run entirely through city streets—the five-borough New York City Marathon in 1976. This event—originally conceived as a one-time celebration of the nation’s bicentennial—forever changed the face of road racing and became a model for big-city distance races around the world. It also catapulted the careers of elite runners including Bill Rodgers, Grete Waitz, and a host of others.

Continue reading: The Race That Changed the Face of Road Racing

Racing in Washington Heights

Racing in Washington Heights

NYRR in the 1970s: A Decade of Firsts

NYRR in the 1970s: A Decade of Firsts