Mary Wittenberg Steps Down as Prez of NYRR





New York, Tuesday, May 12, 2015 ‰ÛÒ Mary
Wittenberg, under whose leadership New York Road Runners developed into
the world‰Ûªs premier community running organization, is stepping down to
launch Virgin Sport as Global CEO of the new lifestyle
company focused on participatory fitness events and programs.  Her two
top deputies, Michael Capiraso and Peter Ciaccia, will take over the
leadership of the organization, it was announced today by George A.
Hirsch, Chairman of the Board of New York Road Runners.


‰ÛÏMary‰Ûªs been a trailblazer in our industry
and the positive impact she‰Ûªs had on New York Road Runners and the TCS
New York City Marathon has been historic,‰Û said Hirsch, who has served
as Chairman of the Board since 2005 and is one of
the founders of the New York City Marathon along with Fred Lebow. 
‰ÛÏMary has proven that she is one of the top sports executives in the
world and we‰Ûªll miss her vision and leadership.‰Û 


‰ÛÏThe Board of Directors has approved the
promotions of Michael and Peter, allowing for a smooth leadership
transition and continuity in our events, programs and community
initiatives,‰Û continued Hirsch. ‰ÛÏTo Mary‰Ûªs credit, she put her
successors in place, which I regard as the hallmark of a successful
leader.  NYRR has never been in a stronger position.‰Û


Mary Wittenberg at NYRR


Under Wittenberg‰Ûªs leadership, NYRR elevated
its prominence and impact by making running more accessible to a broader
audience.  More than 400,000 people of all ages are engaged annually in
NYRR activities, including 200,000 students
locally and nationally through NYRR‰Ûªs free youth running programs,
events, and resources, of which more than 120,000 are in New York City‰Ûªs
five boroughs.


Wittenberg joined NYRR in 1998 and became its
first Chief Operating Officer in 2000.  In 2005, she became the first
woman to lead NYRR as President and CEO and also became the Race
Director of the New York City Marathon. 


With Wittenberg leading the way, the New York
City Marathon, which was named the 2011 Sports Business Journal Event
of the Year, grew in stature as New York City‰Ûªs premier annual sporting
event, uniting the neighborhoods of New York
City‰Ûªs five boroughs and drawing runners from around the world.  In
October 2014, Wittenberg and Hirsch accepted the prestigious Prince of
Asturias Award from the King of Spain on behalf of the TCS New York City
Marathon, which today features 50,000 runners
and nearly 2 million spectators, making it what is widely regarded as
the world‰Ûªs premier running event.


Wittenberg has been an influential figure in
the running world and a prominent leader of the Abbott World Marathon
Majors, which she helped found in 2006.


‰ÛÏMy days at NYRR have been fueled by the
inspiration all around me and it has been an immense privilege to serve
our runners and community while working side by side with so many
amazing partners and talented and deeply committed staff,
volunteers and Board of Directors,‰Û said Wittenberg.  ‰ÛÏNYRR is
fortunate to have Michael and Peter ready to take the baton with the
invaluable benefit of George Hirsch, with his many years of experience,
working closely with them as he and the Board have with
me these past ten years. I am predicting this next leg of NYRR‰Ûªs run
will be the best yet.‰Û


George A. Hirsch ‰ÛÒ NYRR Chairman of the Board


Hirsch is the founding publisher of New York
magazine, was the long time worldwide publisher of Runner‰Ûªs World and
has been a TV commentator at numerous running events including three
Olympic Games.  In 1986 he was the unsuccessful Democratic
candidate for Congress in Manhattan‰Ûªs Silk Stocking District.  Still an
active runner, he has won his age group in his last ten marathons.


Michael Capiraso ‰ÛÒ NYRR President and CEO


Capiraso, who has been with NYRR since 2010,
will move into the position of president and CEO from his role as chief
operating officer where he focused on NYRR‰Ûªs day-to-day operations.  He
will oversee the Marketing, Business Development,
Legal Affairs, Youth & Community Services, Philanthropy &
Development, Administration, Finance, IT, HR, and Strategy, Planning,
& Operations teams.


An industry veteran with extensive experience
in marketing, strategy and operations, Capiraso was a key executive
with a variety of top U.S. and international brands, serving as CMO of
Nike-owned Cole Hahn, CEO of PRISM North America,
a WPP sports & entertainment agency, Vice President of Marketing
and Executive Creative Director at the National Football League,
Consultant to Major League Baseball Productions and Vice President at
Calvin Klein.


Capiraso lives in Manhattan with his wife and
two daughters and is an avid runner himself, participating in
approximately 20 NYRR races annually as well as a streak of completing
the last 23 New York City Marathons.


‰ÛÏI look forward to working with Peter and the
entire staff as we take the next step in the evolution of NYRR‰Ûªs
mission,‰Û said Capiraso.  ‰ÛÏWith the support of our Board of Directors
and our many stakeholders from runners to partners to
city leaders, we are excited to build on the NYRR legacy and get more
people of all ages to Run for Life.‰Û


Peter Ciaccia ‰ÛÒ NYRR President, Events & TCS New York City Marathon Race Director


Now in his 14th year with NYRR, Ciaccia will
move from his current role as Chief Production Officer to the newly
created position of President, Events and will replace Wittenberg as the
Race Director of the TCS New York City Marathon. 
Ciaccia will oversee several areas including Event Development and
Production, Broadcasting, Media Relations, Public Affairs, Professional
Athletes, Volunteer and Community Engagement, Youth Events and the
Athletes with Disabilities program.


Under Ciaccia‰Ûªs leadership, NYRR‰Ûªs events
have grown to include 50 races annually, ranging from the TCS New York
City Marathon to Kids runs throughout the five boroughs to the NYRR
Five-Borough Series featuring the Airbnb Brooklyn Half,
Bronx 10-Mile, Queens 10K, Staten Island Half, and United Airlines NYC
Half.  Today, over 200,000 runners participate in NYRR races yearly,
including a world record 50,530 at the 2014 TCS New York City Marathon.


Prior to joining NYRR, Ciaccia was a
well-regarded music industry executive, working with CBS Records and
Sony Music, and managed major artists and tours with his own talent and
event production company.  The New York City resident was
raised in the Bronx and is a passionate runner and endurance fitness
enthusiast who has competed in various marathons, ultramarathons and
trail-running events.


‰ÛÏNYRR‰Ûªs events are the backbone of our
mission-driven effort to get people of all ages moving towards a healthy
lifestyle,‰Û said Ciaccia.  ‰ÛÏFrom New York City‰Ûªs biggest block party,
the TCS New York City Marathon, to events throughout
the five boroughs for people of all ages, I am excited to get to work
with Michael and our team and take NYRR to the next level.‰Û


Both Capiraso and Ciaccia will join the Board of Directors.


Wittenberg will oversee her final event as
NYRR President and CEO this Saturday, May 16 at the Airbnb Brooklyn
Half.  Capiraso and Ciaccia will assume their new roles on Tuesday, May
19 following Wittenberg‰Ûªs final day with the organization
on May 18.


To learn more about New York Road Runners, visit

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