– 2008 Olympian Ryan Hall and his wife, 1,500m runner Sara Hall, who in
2009 started The STEPS Foundation, have been named Visa Humanitarian
Athletes of the Year by USA Track & Field.
The Halls will
be honored on Saturday, December 5 at the Jesse Owens Awards and Hall
of Fame Induction Ceremony, held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in
Indianapolis, Ind. The event is held in conjunction with USA Track
& Field’s 2009 Annual Meeting.
In 2009, Ryan Hall finished
third in the Boston Marathon, running 2:09:40. It was the first time an
American male has finished on the podium since 1984. Hall then finished
fourth overall in the ING NYC Marathon in 2:10:36 to take second in the
USA Championship race. Also in New York this year, Sara Hall took third
place in the Fifth Avenue Mile in a race that was so close that first
through fourth place all finished in 4:23.
In September of
this year, the Halls launched the Hall Steps Foundation, which will
fund programs to create a better life for youth living in poverty in
the United States and abroad. The foundation aims to use running’s
lessons to encourage people to take “small steps” toward the goal of
tackling issues like clean water, sex trafficking, and leadership
development. Domestically, the foundation plans to create mentoring
programs for at-risk youth to train for a race with an adult runner.
Sara, “Ryan and I are very honored to receive this award, and wish we
could be there to accept it in person! Both of us hope through our
charitable work, including founding The Hall Steps Foundation, to leave
a positive mark on our sport and inspire lives along the way! Our goal
through The Hall Steps Foundation is to engage the running community is
social justice efforts, and we are excited to see the response of the
running community so far! We are very thankful to Visa and USATF for
providing us with events and a platform on which to compete, and it is
great to give back with all we’ve been blessed with. We will be using
the funds from the award to go towards our social justice efforts
through The Hall Steps Foundation. Thank you very much!”
Halls announced their foundation in September in New York, where Sara
ran the Continental Airlines Fifth Avenue Mile that weekend and Ryan
the ING New York City Marathon on November 1. They donated their
winnings from those races to the foundation. Their charitable venture
is a function of Fun 4 Kidz, an organization providing opportunities
for disadvantaged children.
The Hall Steps Foundation, in
connection with the New York Road Runners, also funded a Young Runners
program in each of the five boroughs in New York City, helping more
than 200 children learn the value of running.
“Ours can by its
very nature be a selfish sport, but we are blessed that many American
track and field athletes give back to their communities,” USATF CEO
Doug Logan said, “Sarah and Ryan Hall are incredible examples of how a
humble selflessness can make running a vehicle to help others. That
charity is a prime motivator for both of them is an example we can all
learn from, in running and in life. It is with great admiration that I
congratulate Ryan and Sara on receiving this richly deserved award.”
a long-standing partner of USA Track & Field, Visa is proud to
present the Visa Humanitarian of the Year to Ryan and Sara,” said
Michael Lynch, Head of Global Sponsorship Management, Visa Inc. “They
are amazing role models and continue to inspire in and out of
competition. We’re proud to recognize their work with this award.”
For more information on the Hall Steps Foundation, visit www.thestepsfoundation.org.
Visa: Visa is a global payments technology company that connects
consumers, businesses, financial institutions and governments in more
than 200 countries and territories to fast, secure and reliable digital
currency. Underpinning digital currency is one of the world’s most
advanced processing networks-VisaNet-that is capable of handling more
than 10,000 transactions a second, with fraud protection for consumers
and guaranteed payment for merchants. Visa is not a bank, and does not
issue cards, extend credit or set rates and fees for consumers. Visa’s
innovations, however, enable its financial institution customers to
offer consumers more choices: Pay now with debit, ahead of time with
prepaid or later with credit products. For more information, visit www.corporate.visa.com.
Track & Field (USATF) is the National Governing Body for track and
field, long-distance running and race walking in the United States.
USATF encompasses the world’s oldest organized sports, some of the
most-watched events of Olympic broadcasts, the #1 high school and
junior high school participatory sport and more than 30 million adult
runners in the United States.
For more information on USATF, visit www.usatf.org