RRCA Announces Distance Running Hall of Fame Inductees

March 11th, 2015

RRCA Announces Distance Running Hall of Fame Inductees

45th class includes Sara Mae Berman, Jack Daniels and Phil Stewart

Since 1971, the Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) has honored dedicated individuals for their contributions and service to the sport of distance running through its National Distance Running Hall of Fame. We are delighted to announce the 2015 inductees, who will be honored at the upcoming RRCA National Running Awards Banquet and Ceremony on Saturday, April 25, 2015 in Des Moines, IA. We encourage all RRCA members to join us for this event to celebrate these tremendously accomplished members of the running community. 

Sara Mae Berman: pioneer, marathon champion, women’s running advocate

Sara Mae Berman is a distinguished American distance runner. She was born in the Bronx, New York on May 14, 1936. Her family later moved to Manchester, New Hampshire, where she grew up. She went to college at the Rhode Island School of Design, from which she graduated in 1958 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in interior design.

Berman came from a generation in which women were not encouraged to be athletic, especially after having children. Her journey as a runner started when her husband, Larry Berman, whom she married in 1955, suggested that through running, she could become a pioneer in the sport of women’s distance running and get back into physical shape after having had three children. Relying on training guides by Dr. Ernst van Aachen, Arthur Lydiard and Dr. David Costill, he became her first coach.

In the 1950s, women were considered not strong enough to run long distances, and the longest distance women were allowed to compete in was 200 meters.  Berman, however, was attracted to running longer distances.  She, along with a group of female runners, actively campaigned for equal rights for women in the sport of distance running. Berman also trained in the fall and winter for Cross Country skiing.  After the 1968 Winter Olympics, she was named to the first ever Women’s National Nordic Ski Team.

Berman’s running accomplishments are impressive. She competed in her first road race in June 1964 as an unofficial entrant in the 5-Mile Handicap Race in Marlborough, Massachusetts. Just seven year later, she had won the Boston Marathon three times, before women were recognized as official participants (1969 in 3:22:46; 1970 in 3:05:07 (unofficial course record, bettering the previous record by more than 16 minutes and finishing in the second best time in the United States that year) and 1971 in 3:08:30).  In 1970, she won the first RRCA Women’s Marathon Championship in Atlantic City, NJ, besting a field of six female starters with a time of 3:07:10. That same year, she also finished third in the inaugural New York City Marathon women’s division. In 1971, she turned in a personal best marathon time of 3:00:35 at the Plodders Marathon in Brockton-and-Avon, Massachusetts.

Her accomplishments in the sport however, extend well beyond the race course. Berman was the first female RRCA officer, serving as Vice President from 1966-67. She was one of the original road race course certifiers in New England in the 1960s. She certified the Boston Marathon course in 1967 so that it would be accurately measured enabling runners to qualify on the course for the United States Olympic Trials Marathon, which were held in 1968 in Alamosa, Colorado. Her work as a race course certifier played a pivotal role in legitimizing the sport of distance running and making records verifiable across the United States.

Berman and her husband were one of the original running couples in the United States. In 1962, the Bermans founded the Cambridge Sports Union (called the Metropolitan Athletic Club until the late 1960s), the first competitive sports club in New England for men and women. The club provides training for endurance sports, including running, cross country skiing, and orienteering (including ski-orienteering).

Berman attributes her success to her husband, who believed that she could succeed in running and other endeavors. She and Larry have three adult children and currently live in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Jack Daniels: Olympic medalist, coach, author

Jack Daniels was born in Detroit, Michigan on April 26, 1933. He is a professor of physical education and a coach of Olympic athletes. He received his doctoral degree in exercise physiology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Daniels first achieved prominence in athletics as a member of the 1956 and 1960 United States Olympic teams. He is a two-time Olympic medalist in the modern pentathlon, winning a silver medal at the 1956 Melbourne Summer Olympics and a bronze medal at the 1960 Rome Summer Olympics. The modern pentathlon combines fencing, pistol shooting, swimming, equestrian show jumping and cross country running. Despite Daniels’ prowess in the various disciplines that constitute the modern pentathlon, his weakest event was running. He wanted to find out why, and so he decided to study the sport. “I wanted to be a runner,” he said.

In the mid-1990s, Daniels was named “World’s Best Coach” by Amby Burfoot of Runner’s World magazine. Over the course of his coaching career, Daniels has trained or advised a variety of America’s finest runners, including Jim Ryun, a three-time Olympian and world record holder; Joan Benoit Samuelson, winner of the first women’s Olympic Marathon; two-time Olympian Ryan Hall, America’s fastest marathoner, and his wife Sara; Ken Martin and Jerry Lawson, both sub-2:10 marathoners; Peter Gilmore, Amy Hastings, Ryan and Alicia Shay, the McMillan Elite Team and many others.

Daniels outlined his training philosophies in his book, Daniels’ Running Formula, which was first published in 1998. The third edition of his popular training book, Daniels’ Running Formula, was published in 2013. Although he has coached both men and women, Daniels believes in treating the athletes he coaches the same. In his view, the only difference is that women, in his view, seem more enthusiastic and willing to learn. After testing female runners over the years, he found that despite having a lower VO2 max (maximum capacity to transport and utilize oxygen during exercise), female runners are just as efficient male runners and can handle the same amount of training. Rather than finding differences between males and females, Daniels focuses on training the individual.

In 2007, after a long coaching stint at the State University of New York at Cortland, New York, Daniels became the head distance coach at the Center for High Altitude Training at Northern Arizona University. When the center closed, Daniels coached at Brevard College until 2012. In 2013, he became the cross country coach at Wells College in Aurora, New York. Across his coaching career with the State University of New York, Daniels coached 30 individual Division III NCAA national champions, 8 NCAA team national champions and 130 All-Americans. In recognition of his coaching achievements, he was named NCAA Division I National Coach of the Year three times and NCAA Division III Coach of the Century.

Daniels currently lives in Flagstaff, Arizona but resides in New York during the fall to coach cross country at Wells College.

Phil Stewart: publisher, race director, administrator, emcee

Phil Stewart is a lifelong supporter of the Road Runners Club of America. He is the current editor and publisher of the Road Race Management newsletter and the Road Race Management Directory of the Running Industry. In addition, through his company, Road Race Management, Inc., Phil organizes the annual Road Race Management Race Directors’ Seminar and Trade Exhibit, an annual sport-wide industry gathering.

Stewart began running in his junior year of high school at Washington, D.C.’s Woodrow Wilson High School and has never stopped. He placed second in the Washington, D.C. city meet in the mile (1968), and his personal best mile time of 4:31.4 stood as the school record for 20 years. He graduated with a B.A. in history from Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, where he was captain of the cross country team and recipient of the school’s award for excellence in cross country.

After college, he began competing in races in the Washington, D.C. area, where he emerged as one of the area’s top runners. In 1974 he placed third in the National Amateur Athletic Union’s 50-mile race in New York. In 1975, he was the first Washington, D.C. area finisher in the Boston Marathon, posting an excellent time of 2:19:58. He qualified for and participated in the 1976 Olympic Marathon Trials. In 1977 he placed 15th at the Boston Marathon.

Stewart received notoriety in 1979 when he took the dramatic photos of President Jimmy Carter’s collapse during a 10k road race at Camp David. The photos were published in Sports Illustrated, Time, People magazine and other publications. Stewart received an Honorable Mention in the “News Picture Story” category by the National Press Photographers Association. The photos were Stewart was one of the founders of Running Times magazine (1977), one of the two nationally circulated running magazines. Over the years, he has had prominent leadership roles in running organizations, including President of the D.C. Road Runners Club; Vice President of Administration of the Road Runners Club of America; Treasurer of the United States Track & Field Association (formerly TAC) Men’s Long Distance Running Committee; and member of the USATF’s Board of Directors.

He has also received numerous awards and accolades for his contributions to the sport of distance running, including the following: the USATF President’s Award; the 2006 Road Runners Club of America Browning Ross “Spirit of the RRCA” Award; the Road Runners Club of America Journalistic Excellence Award; induction into the D.C. Road Runners Club Hall of Fame; and member of the Advisory Board of the National Distance Running Hall of Fame.

Stewart is currently the event director of the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile, the premier springtime running event in Washington, D.C. The event is part of the Professional Road Running Organization World Championship Circuit and is continually rated as one of the outstanding races in America.

Stewart is also a frequent emcee at awards ceremonies and press conferences, in part because of his vast knowledge of the people and happenings in the sport. He currently provides commentary for the Gasparilla Distance Classic (Tampa, Florida), the Quad-City Times Bix 7 Mile (Davenport, Iowa), the Utica Boilermaker 15K (Utica, New York), and the ACLI Capital Challenge (Washington, D.C.).

He still regularly competes as a runner and finished the 2014 Berlin Marathon with a time of 3:40:29. He currently lives in Bethesda, Maryland and has two children, Mark and Anna.

About RRCA

Founded in 1958, the Road Runners Club of America is the oldest and largest national association of running clubs, running events and runners dedicated to promoting running as a competitive sport and as healthy exercise. The mission of the RRCA is to promote the sport of running through the development and growth of running clubs and running events throughout the country. The RRCA supports the common interests of runners of all abilities during all stages of life by providing education and leadership opportunities along with programs and services that benefit all runners. Learn more at www.RRCA.organd at www.RunPro.com

Road Runners Club of America

RRCA Announces Distance Running Hall of Fame Inductees

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Andy Smith

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