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Ryan And Sara Hall Start Foundation To Support Youth

Ryan Hall, along with his wife Sara, are starting their own foundation. Photo: ASI
Ryan Hall, along with his wife Sara, are starting their own foundation. Photo: ASI

Halls to donate prize money from fall races to the foundation, a portion of which will fund an NYRR Young Runners program in each of the five boroughs

New York, September 24, 2009—American distance runners Ryan and Sara Hall today announced the formation of The Hall Steps Foundation, a charitable initiative that will fund programs to create a better life for youth living in poverty in the United States and abroad. The Hall Steps Foundation is a function of Fun 4 Kidz, an organization that acts on behalf of professional athletes to provide opportunities for disadvantaged children.

At a school event in the Bronx today, the Halls announced that the New York Road Runners youth programs will be one of the first initiatives the foundation supports. The Hall Steps Foundation will fund a Young Runners program in each of the five boroughs, helping more than 200 children learn the value of running.

The Halls have committed to donate to The Hall Steps Foundation their cumulative prize-money earnings from two major events in New York this fall: Sara, the Continental Airlines Fifth Avenue Mile on Saturday, September 26, and Ryan, his long-awaited debut at the ING New York City Marathon on Sunday, November 1. The foundation will donate the $2,500 to each school—$12,500 in total—that is necessary to fund the Young Runners program, providing training for teachers, coaches, and field managers; entry fees and transportation costs for kids to participate in races; and more.

“One of my goals for my running career is to leave a legacy that will extend well beyond my years as a professional runner,” Ryan Hall said. “On November 1, I will carry a new level of inspiration knowing that, in each of the five boroughs I will be racing through to accomplish my goal of winning the 2009 ING New York City Marathon, The Hall Steps Foundation, partnering with New York Road Runners, will be changing lives.”

The foundation aims to use the lessons of running to encourage people to take “small steps” toward the marathon goal of tackling such issues as 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. Each year, the Halls plan to focus on projects that affect the U.S. cities where Ryan Hall is running a marathon.

“The name for The Hall Steps Foundation grew out of one of our favorite Mother Teresa quotes: ‘I can do no great things, just small things with great love,’” Sara Hall said. “Just like the marathon distance, trying to make a difference on global poverty can seem a daunting task. But just as many small steps add up to a marathon, Ryan and I want to do our own small acts with great love—while dreaming big—and inspire others to do the same, hopefully causing a ripple effect within the running community and throughout the world.”

The five New York City schools that will receive funding from The Hall Steps Foundation are:

* P.S./M.S. 15 in the Bronx, a team that often runs in NYRR weekend races.
* M.S. 136 in Brooklyn, a school that hosts a run-a-thon every year as a fund-raiser.
* M.S. 258 in Manhattan, a site in which the coach puts on her own Turkey Trot in the fall with the running team against the rest of the school.
* ABBE Panthers in Queens, a Boys Club site that is one of the featured programs in “A Running Start” instructional running video.
* St. John Villa in Staten Island, a large team of about 100 kids and the only Staten Island site.

Young Runners uses the structure and popularity of a team to teach kids how to set goals, embrace physical activity, and build perseverance. Guided by coaches supported by NYRR, participants learn to run distances from 1 to 6.2 miles. Young Runners, while intended to be physically challenging, is designed for children of all fitness and athletic levels and emphasizes hard work rather than competitive achievement.

“Today’s announcement by Ryan and Sara goes right to the heart of New York Road Runners’ mission of giving back to the community,” said Mary Wittenberg, NYRR president and CEO. “We applaud and recognize their efforts in helping all of us make a difference.”

Ryan Hall had one of his career’s finest performances in New York’s Central Park at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Men’s Marathon, when he broke the Olympic Trials record. Hall went on to finish 10th in the 2008 Beijing Olympic marathon. Hall was the first American to finish the Boston Marathon earlier this year, placing third overall.

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Source: New York Road Runners