NEW YORK CITY -- Dr. Norbert Sander, founder of The Armory Foundation and influencer of the National Track & Field Hall of Fame’s placement at The Armory, died Friday at age 74.
The 2000 recipient of the Heliodoro and Patricia Rico Lifetime Achievement Award and a 2005 USATF President’s Award winner, Dr. Sander was an advocate for bettering the opportunities for young people to get involved in track & field. Dr. Sander was the president, CEO and founder of the 168th Street Armory Foundation, which revitalized The Armory to accommodate over 100 events annually, serving over 125,000 athletes and 500,000 visitors every year.
“Dr. Sander was a partner to USATF who cared passionately about the sport and even more about the kids who benefit from the Armory’s track and field, educational and enrichment programs,” USATF CEO Max Siegel said. “Countless young people have been impacted by his work. His death is a shock to all of us and deeply affects this sport. On behalf of USATF, we offer our deepest condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.”
For nearly 25 years, Dr. Sander led The Armory toward becoming the foremost indoor track and field facility in the country, with the venue now home to over 57 high school and a dozen American records. Dr. Sander’s efforts made possible stories like Alan Webb’s sub-4:00 mile in 2001, the first ever by a high schooler, which was bested by Drew Hunter in 2016. In 2014, Dr. Sander was the recipient of the NYRR Abebe Bikila Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Sport of Running.
Dr. Sander was also an active competitor, winning championship medals at the Penn Relays (1963), the NYC Marathon (1974), and many masters events. By profession, Dr. Sander was a physician and practiced medicine for over 45 years. A lifelong resident of New York City, Dr. Sander resided in Hastings-on-Hudson with his family until his passing.
USATF and The Armory are longtime partners, teaming up together on the NYRR Millrose Games and New Balance Armory Invitational as part of the USATF Championship Series, and most recently, USATF brought its Black Tie & Sneakers Gala to be held at the Armory. USATF recently committed to support The Armory Foundation’s after-school program with a monetary donation over a three-year term, beginning in 2017.