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Running USA 2011: The Industry Conference Recap

SAN ANTONIO – (February 15, 2011) – Running USA 2011: The Industry Conference, held at the Grand Hyatt San Antonio from February 13-15, drew a record of more the 430 attendees to the Alamo City. The largest and signature running industry conference had something for everybody from “best practices” sessions, dynamic speakers, social events and morning runs as well as networking opportunities.

Running USA

Running USA

“At our 8th edition, from the Hall of Champions inductees to Team USA Arizona winning the Allan Steinfeld Development Award to the inspirational speakers to the variety of panelists and to everybody who made this conference a great success, we did indeed ‘Celebrate Running, Celebrate Success’ and more,” said Susan Weeks, Running USA CEO. “We especially thank our Running USA 2011 sponsors and attendees for helping make this conference the best in the sport.”

CONFERENCE HIGHLIGHTS

At Monday’s Trailblazer Luncheon and Awards, Beth Shluger, Hartford Marathon Foundation executive director, was presented the Women’s Running Magazine Trailblazer Award for her contributions to the sport, and Benita Fitzgerald Mosley, Chief of Sport Performance for USA Track & Field, gave the luncheon address.

The Monday evening awards banquet inducted the eighth class of the Running USA Hall of Champions who were recognized for their contribution and dedication to the sport:

* Dr. Ken Cooper (Dallas, TX), best-selling author / researcher / pioneer / “father of aerobics”

* Creigh Kelley (Englewood, CO), race organizer / announcer / administrator / volunteer

Team USA Arizona was also announced as the second Allan Steinfeld Development Award winner during the Hall of Champions dinner, and the conference’s silent and live auctions raised more than $53,000 for Flagstaff-based training group and other Running USA programs.

The evening also included a tribute to the Cascade Run Off and the 30th anniversary of its awarding of Open prize money, the first such “over the table” money for a major U.S. road race. This historic event led to the professionalization of the sport. At the tribute, race founder Chuck Galford, race coordinator Keith Peters and 1981 women’s winner Anne Audain represented the 15K race.

New this year at the 8th edition was The Perfect Pitch. This two-part session featured semi-final and final rounds of sponsorship pitches by events, companies and organizations to a panel of industry experts from LIVESTRONG, Brooks, ASICS and YAVAY – professionals who review sponsorship proposals every day. With $4000 on the line, Wine Country Half Marathon Series was selected as the top pitch and won $3000, while Virtual Race Bags had the runner-up proposal ($1000). Other selected “pitchers” were Big Sur International Marathon, Fetal Hope Foundation, New York Road Runners and RaceMates.

On Tuesday at the Leadership Luncheon presented by Ashworth Awards, Running USA youth awards sponsored by YouthRunner.com were announced for:

Youth Event of the Year
Junior Carlsbad, Carlsbad, CA – Competitor Group

Youth Program of the Year
Flying Pig Kids’ Marathon, Cincinnati, OH

Youth Program Contributor of the Year
Tim Arem, PhD, of T-Bone Productions, Asheville, NC

On Sunday, Running USA’s Board of Directors elected the following officers to one-year terms: vice president, Beth Salinger (Hospital Hill Run) and secretary, Jeff Matlow (imAthlete). Continuing officers include president, Virginia Brophy Achman (Twin Cities in Motion) and treasurer, Lonnie Somers (Fetal Hope Foundation), and Allan Steinfeld (New York Road Runners) is president emeritus.

Running USA 2011 was presented by Active.com, Ashworth Awards and Leslie Jordan, Inc. Running USA 2012 – set for January 15-17 – will be hosted by Houston in conjunction with the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials and Chevron Houston Marathon weekend – three outstanding events in one great location. 2012 registration will open soon.