Norbert Sander

Champion and Leader

Norbert Sander’s impact on the running community in New York City was unparalleled. Born in Yonkers, he was a member of the historic 1958 and 1959 Fordham Prep cross-country teams that won the New York City championships. He won a Penn Relays champion­ship in 1963 while at Fordham University, and went on to graduate from Albert Einstein College of Medicine and become an internist specializing in family medicine. Sander won the 1974 New York City Marathon and he remains the only native New Yorker to have done so.


In 1992, Sander took on the revitalization of the Fort Washington Armory, which had been New York City’s premier are­na for indoor track until the mid-1980s but had become a dilapidated homeless shelter. After working with the city to move the 2,000 homeless inhabitants to better situations, he led a $25 million project to restore the facility to its former status, building a premier athletic facil­ity where young athletes would compete and be inspired to continue their interest in track and field. Over the years, the restored Armory has hosted hundreds of thousands of runners, from youth to Olympic gold medalists, and hundreds of events, including the NYRR Millrose Games. It also includes a learning and community center serving youth and families.


A longtime member of NYRR’s Board of Directors, Sander received the Heliodoro and Patri­cia Rico Lifetime Achievement Award from USA Track & Field in 2000 and the Abebe Bikila Award from NYRR in 2014. He passed away March 17, 2017 at age 74.

Race History

Lifetime Highlights

Year Highlight
1958-59 Member of Fordham Prep cross country team (NYC champions)
1963 Won Penn Relays championship for Fordham University
1971 Graduated from Albert Einstein Medical College
1974 Won New York City Marathon (2:26:30)
1990s Raised $25 million to restore Fort Washington Armory as premier track and field facility
1990s-2017 President of The Armory Foundation
2012 Leader in moving Millrose Games from Madison Square Garden to the Armory
1990s–2017 Member of NYRR Board of Directors

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