Fischl Leibowitz was born in Romania in 1932, and at the age of 14, as the Soviet Union was poised to take over his homeland, Leibowitz and his older brother fled the country, eventually settling in New York City. Leibowitz Americanized his name to Fred Lebow and took up a career in the garment trade. Lebow was also an avid jogger, if not especially speedy or skilled, and he began making himself known among New York's runners. Determined to give the Big Apple's runners a higher profile and greater respect among their peers, Lebow helped organize the first New York City Marathon in 1970, bankrolling the project himself with an investment of 300 dollars. While only 55 contestants finished the first marathon, Lebow tirelessly continued to promote organized running in New York, and made big news in 1976, when, in celebration of the nation's bicentennial, Lebow helped organize an ambitious marathon course that wound through all five boroughs of the city, with star athletes Frank Shorter and Bill Rodgers taking part in the event. Filmmaker Judd Ehrlich profiles Fred Lebow and his life and times as New York City's greatest champion of distance running in the documentary Run for Your Life, which examines his career, his accomplishments, his eccentricities, and his legacy. Run for Your Life received its world premiere at the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival.
by Mark Deming synopsis