Three-time New York City Marathon champion Alberto Salazar and two-time winners Nina Kuscsik and Miki Gorman were formally inducted into the NYRR Hall of Fame on Thursday morning.
Kuscsik, 73, is the first woman to ever run the race, winning in 1972 and 1973. Gorman, won in 1976 and 1977, and remains the last American woman to win.
Both were present to accept their awards; Salazar was unable to attend because of travel issues.
“We are here to recognize two giants—you maybe can’t quite see it, but two giants—in our sport,” said George Hirsch, chairman of the board of directors at New York Road Runners, in introducing the diminutive women. “They weren’t just women making a statement. They were great athletes.”
They will join last year’s inaugural class, former NYRR president Fred Lebow and nine-time New York City Marathon winner Grete Waitz of Norway. New this year, the 2012 inductees’ banners will be raised in Central Park along with those of their predecessors.
“I’m so glad I came here this morning,” said Gorman. “I was not sure if I should come because of all the problems here. But all the memories came back to me this morning. They are fantastic memories.”
With all the people cheering her along the course during her victories, she recalled, she felt “like my body was lifted up.”
“Our races are to our sport what Wimbledon and the Australian, U.S., and French Opens are to tennis, and what the Masters, U.S., and British Opens and PGA Championship are to golf. Each race has the history, the tradition, the honor roll of legendary champions, and a special place in the eyes of all to make them stand apart from the other events.” Mary Wittenberg