Ryan and Sara Hall have been named Visa Humanitarian Athletes of the Year, USA Track & Field announced yesterday. The Halls were recognized for the creation of their Hall Steps Foundation which will fund programs to create a better life for youth living in poverty in the United States and abroad.
When the Halls, who live and train in Mammoth Lakes, Calif., and are sponsored by Asics, announced the creation of their foundation last September in New York City, they committed to seeding it with their prize money winnings from the Continental Airlines Fifth Avenue Mile and the ING New York City Marathon. Sara Hall finished third in the mile in 4:23.9, earning $2,500 in prize money. Ryan Hall finished fourth in the marathon in 2:10:36, which also served as the USA men's championship at the distance, earning $50,000 in prize money.
"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," said Sara Hall through a prepared statement. "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."
The Halls' 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," commented USATF CEO Doug Logan. "It is with great admiration that I congratulate Ryan and Sara on receiving this richly deserved award."