Former New York City Marathon Race Director Allan Steinfeld, W2TN, of Bowers, Pennsylvania — considered a founding father of the modern running movement — died on January 24. He was 70.
“Allan was one of the great pioneers in road race administration, developing many of the protocols required for a successful big-time event,” said Dave Katz, the technical director for the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), USA Track & Field, and many marathons, in a Runner’s World obituary.
Amateur Radio has had a significant role in supporting New York City Marathon communications since the 1970s, when Steve Mendelsohn, W2ML (then WA2DHF, now SK), later ARRL First Vice President, began organizing a cadre of ham radio volunteers.
An ARRL member, Steinfeld was licensed in 1959. He had held the call signs WA2IUQ and KL7HIR over the years, and chose W2TN after upgrading to Amateur Extra.
Steinfeld got to know legendary New York City Marathon Director Fred Lebow in the early years of the event, joining the New York Road Runners Club, as it was then known, serving as race timekeeper, eventually becoming Lebow’s assistant, and, in 1994, its president and CEO. He stepped down in 2005 for health reasons.
As his obituary in Runner’s World explained, “Timing, scoring, start and finish-line systems, radio communications, computer technology, crowd control, elite pack management: In all those Steinfeld proved to be an innovative technical genius. If Lebow was the visionary Columbus of the modern city marathon, it was Steinfeld who designed and built the ship, navigated and steered it, repaired and technically updated it, even as it crossed unknown seas.”