National Black Distance Running Hall of Fame to Induct Michele Tiff-Hill
Michele Tiff-Hill, the first African-American woman to run in the US Olympic Marathon Trials and with a marathon best of 2:50:19, to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
"We're looking forward to inducting this Cleveland native and current Tucson resident into the Hall of Fame," says NBMA Executive Director Tony Reed. This 1969 Shaker Heights High School graduate earned her Bachelor of Music in piano from Curtis Institute of Music (1974), and was subsequently awarded a Master of Fine Arts in Harpsichord Studies (1989) and a PhD, Summa cum laude, in Historical Musicology (2001), both from UCLA.
She started running at the age of 29 in 1980. She comes from a family of athletes. Her father, Benjamin Tiff, was in the same high school sprint-relay team as Jesse Owens. He was also an accomplished tennis player who was team captain at his alma mater, Wilberforce University. Her brother, Milan Tiff, was world-record holder in the triple jump and also held US records at high-school, college and national levels. He won the triple jump at the inaugural World Cup in 1977. Her sister, Margot Tiff, was a gifted tennis player who played on the professional circuit, and was the first black woman to play in World Team Tennis. She was also part of the Cal State sprint-relay team that won the NCAA championship.
Michele ran her first sub three-hour marathon in Dec, 1982 at the Fiesta Bowl (2:57:14) in Scottsdale, AZ. Shortly afterwards, she met Eino Rompannen, sculptor and running coach. He helped her to realize her goal of achieving the qualifying time for the first US Women's Olympic Marathon Trials. In the process, she became the first African-American women to qualify for and compete in this historic event. She would go on to run several marathons under three hours until the age of 41. The Sri Chinmoy Marathon in Foster City, California would remain her personal best at 2:50:19. Master's Track and Field News gave her a No. 1 U.S. ranking (5k) in the 35-39 age group. Later, she was cited in Running Times, March 2008, for honorable mention in the 55-59 age group for leading U.S. Masters runners of 2007. Along with her husband, Dave Hill, she started the Tucson (AZ) Grinders running group in 2004.
Michele says, "It is such an honor to be recognized by the national running community and I am indeed humbled by the gesture. To be in such esteemed company warms my heart and makes me very proud to have been chosen."
Previously announced inductees include Ingrid Walters, Michele Bush-Cuke, and Shawanna White. Additional inductees will be announced in the upcoming weeks.
About the National Black Marathoners Association
The National Black Marathoners' Association (NBMA) is the largest and oldest nonprofit organization in the U.S. dedicated to encouraging African Americans and others to pursue a healthy lifestyle through distance running and walking, as well as awarding college scholarships to deserving high school distance runners. It is open to everyone, regardless of his or her athletic ability, ethnic background, or previous marathon experience. The NBMA hosts an annual multi-race summit. Previous races and locations have been Lewis & Clark (St. Charles, MO), New Jersey (Long Branch, NJ), Cleveland (OH), Lost Dutchman (Apache Junction, AZ), Cowtown (Fort Worth, TX), Georgia (Atlanta), Bermuda International Race Weekend, Deadwood-Michelson (Deadwood, SD), Madison (WI), Richmond (VA), Windermere (Spokane, WA), Dallas, Columbus (OH), and the Go! St. Louis, Baltimore Running Festival, and Little Rock Marathons.
For more information, visit www.BlackMarathoners.org.
National Black Marathoners Association