Allan Steinfeld is the New York City Marathon Race Director. In this exclusive
contribution for the real,- BERLIN-MARATHON website, he summarizes his thoughts
and worries concerning the execution of his race after the tragic events of
9/11. Allan Steinfeld also visited the 28th real.- BERLIN-MARATHON and
participated in the AIMS Board of Directors meeting in Berlin.
Right at the start of the 28th real,- BERLIN-MARATHON on 30 September 2001,
he delivered a short address to the runners who were displaying over their
heads a giant banner (40 m x 25 m – sponsored by the Bewag utility
company) in remembrance of September 11. The banner had the logos of the New
York City and Berlin marathons and the words „UNITED WE RUN“
Jointly with Klaus Wowereit, the Governing Mayor of Berlin, Mr. Steinfeld
then fired the starting gun. Allan Steinfeld is seen on the left of the photo,
which also depicts the Governing Mayor and Horst Milde, Race Director of the
The banner was later taken to New York where it was initially displayed at
the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, the start of the marathon, held high by 50 race
directors from around the world, on 4 November 2001. Then it was spread on the
ground for all to see on TV, encircled by the many buses that had brought the
runners to the start.
The 2001 New York City Marathon 2001 – how Allan Steinfeld saw
The morning of September 11 at 8:50 a.m., was sunny and warm much like many
of the days we had preceding it. I was in a cab on the way to work, when all of
a sudden I heard on the radio that a plane had crashed into the World Trade
Center. I was horrified, but thought that is was just a single or double engine
propeller plane with a few people aboard. It wasn until I arrived at work and
everyone was gathered around the TV set that I realized that this day was
unlike any other day in our history and it would change us all forever. I
remember we were all glued to the TV watching the horror unfold like a science
fiction movie, but we knew it was unfortunately real.
"New York City" />
"Allan Steinfeld, Klaus Wowereit, Horst Milde 2001" />
That afternoon I went for a run around the reservoir and looked south at the
brown haze that was rising from the horrific fires and when the wind shifted I
couldn help but inhale that acrid smoke. The days following were filled with
despair and tears as the death toll rose and we heard more and more stories
about families not knowing whether their loved ones were dead or alive.
We were supposed to have a charity run to raise funds to fight breast cancer
with 30,000 women on Sunday September 16 in Central Park, but that got canceled
due to security reasons. It was then that we started thinking about the
marathon and realized that it could be cancelled too. I placed a call to the
City to see if there was any word on the Marathon. Word can back a few days
later saying, if there were no further attacks it was on. We breathed a
collective sigh of relief.
However, that night we saw on that news that Pier 94, our expo headquarters,
had been taken over by the office of emergency management to be a clearing
house for people who believed they lost loves in the tragedy. People would
bring pictures, donate DNA samples as well as bring blankets and clothing for
survivors. We contacted the City and together we frantically searched for new
venue not knowing whether the pier would be available by marathon time. We
eventually found space at the Javits Center, our premier expo location. That
was one hurdle we managed to get over without scraping our knees.
Our preparations for the race continued with some slight changes. At the end
of September I was supposed to fly to Berlin for a meeting of AIMS. I was
cautioned about flying by many people who said I shouldn go. I thought about it
for a second and then responded: "How can we ask people from all over the
world to fly to our marathon and support our city and our country, if I won fly
myself?" The decision was simple. Hopefully, my being in Berlin would show
the running world that the terrorists didn win and wouldn win.
The outpouring of support for New York in the Berlin Marathon was
unbelievable I was especially moved by the giant banner with the Berlin and New
York City Marathons logos and our slogan United We Run. That day in Berlin was
inspirational and a day I will never forget. I came back to New York
November 4, 2001 will be a day to remember in running history. It was a day
that 2.5 million people came out to cheer on runners from around the world who
journeyed to New York to show the world that terrorism could not Stopp or
silence them. It was the first time that the collective city could allow their
pent up emotions to express to the watching world who we really are, a brave
and resilient people.
The United We Run banner was unfurled by race directors from around the
world and displayed for the all the world to see. When America the Beautiful
and the Star Spangled Banner was sung there wasn a dry eye on the Verrazano
Bridge. Finally we released the "doves of peace", the cannon was
fired and the miracle of the New York City Marathon began.