Who We Are

Running USA is a non-profit organization committed to the growth and success of the running industry. Our promise is to deliver quality education, exceptional industry content, valuable research and ample networking opportunities. We connect. We support. We educate. Running USA brings together an entire community. As the voice of endurance running, we’re all about connection and collaboration. Whether we’re connecting race organizers with sponsors, partners and athletes, or connecting our members with vital information and best practices, our goal is to raise the profile of running and help more people get more out of it.

What We Do

Our promise is to deliver quality education, exceptional industry content, valuable research and ample networking opportunities. We connect. We support. We educate. Running USA brings together an entire community.

The Team

Jeff Matlow

Interim Executive Director

Jeff is a successful entrepreneur and business leader. He has extensive experience with both non-profit and for-profit entities, including decades of work with National Governing Bodies.

Jeff has served on the Executive Team for the Running USA Board of Directors for 12 years, including stints as President and Secretary of the organization. He is currently serving as the organization’s interim Executive Director.

Jeff is the founder and CEO of By Title Only, an organization that transforms leadership and accelerates growth for companies in transition. He also writes a popular newsletter focused on behaviors of successful leaders, delivered with a side dollop of humor.

Prior to By Title Only, Jeff was the founder and CEO of I Am Athlete, LLC., a leading provider of data management, marketing and registration solutions for the endurance market. I Am Athlete was acquired by Gannett Media (NYSE:GCI).

In his spare time, Jeff is a journalist, runner, Ironman triathlete, craft-er and father of a 9-year old spitfire of a girl.

Christine Bowen

Chief Operating Officer

Christine has been fortunate to combine her operational expertise with her passion for the sport to develop a career path she loves along the way. When she’s not on the road at events around the world, she enjoys running and hiking herself. Having completed 8 marathons and 21 half marathons, these days she has been enjoying a more casual pace on the trails. In addition to her dedication to training, Christine travels often and immerses herself in local food and culture wherever she goes.

Email Christine at christine@runningusa.org.

Leah Etling

Director of Marketing and Communications

Leah has been part of the Running USA team since 2009, when she was recruited to join the organization due to her standout background in endurance sports journalism (award-winner from Associated Press Sports Editors, California Newspaper Publishers Association). Today, she puts that experience to use as the primary content producer for the organization.

Leah holds a master’s degree from UC Berkeley and is a lifelong runner who loves seeing how the sport can change lives, create friendships and build community. She’s also a proud Marine Corps veteran spouse living in Bend, Oregon and aunt to two future track stars, Mercer and Rowan.

Email Leah at leah@runningusa.org.

Ethan Figge

Operations Manager

As a Colorado native Ethan was exposed to athletics at a very young age by his marathon running father, culminating in a Human Performance in Sport Industry Operations degree from Metropolitan State University of Denver.

Since graduating, Ethan immersed himself in the true culture of sport. Working for organizations such as Denver University Lacrosse, Denver Broncos Football Club, USA Table Tennis, and USA Boxing. When Ethan is not working, he likes to spend his time exploring the Colorado high country with his champion purebred Doberman Pinscher, Jack.

Email Ethan at ethan@runningusa.org.

Board of Directors

Tanner Bell

Vice President – (Term through June 2025)
Co-founder and CEO, Ragnar Relay

Tanner co-founded Ragnar in 2004 as a single overnight running relay race with 262 participants. Today, more than 100,000 runners participate annually in 15 road relay races and 11 trail relay races. Tanner has been instrumental in the growth of Ragnar and continues to play an integral role in establishing Ragnar as one of the premier brands in endurance sports.

Among his many accolades, Utah Business Magazine named Tanner to their “Forty under 40” list in 2010 at the age of 29. He is passionate about entrepreneurship and enjoys speaking to high school and college students about his entrepreneurial adventures. As a member of Brigham Young University’s Associate Entrepreneur Founders Organization he volunteers as a mentor for student entrepreneurs. Tanner is well respected in the running event industry and often speaks at Running USA and other industry gatherings.

Alex Bennett

Director – (Term through June 2023)
General Manager, Meow Wolf

Alex Bennett is currently the Meow Wolf GM at the popular arts and entertainment attraction in Denver – showcasing large-scale immersive art installations and high-profile music encounters. As a former Director at the IRONMAN Group, Ventures Endurance and VP at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series – Alex enthusiastically stays tied to the endurance industry and the sport of running.

Alex Bennett has had the good fortune producing events and managing event/public venues for over 30 years from So Cal to Seattle to Denver and has had the privilege to work and manage such venues as Experience Music Project, KeyArena and Seattle Center and managed a large portfolio of events in the endurance industry with many companies.

Alex still runs – but not as fast or far (or as often) as he once did.

Donna Grogan

Director – (Term through June 2023)
Executive Director, American Academy of Forensic Sciences

Donna Grogan is Executive Director of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, a multidisciplinary professional organization that provides leadership to advance science and its application to the legal system.

She previously served as Vice President, Development & Fundraising for the Lupus Foundation of America where she oversaw the fundraising strategy for the Foundation, which includes donor acquisition strategies and peer-to-peer fundraising events.

Donna ran her first marathon in 1996 in Honolulu as a member of Team In Training and became passionate about the sport of running. She was able to marry her love of charity and giving back with running and triathlon in her role at the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) where she oversaw the growth and development of Team In Training for more than 16 years. In her role at LLS, she developed, managed and cultivated key relationships and negotiated contracts that drove lifetime revenue of over $500 million for cancer research. Donna also worked with many races and other nonprofits on how establish successful and mutually beneficial charity partner programs.

Donna is passionate about the sport of running and enjoys running 5ks and 10ks as well as group fitness classes at Orange Theory and yoga. She looks forward to using her skills to further encourage people of all ages to get engaged and realize their potential through running.

Brandon Hough

Director – (Term through June 2025)
Major Gifts Officer, Antioch College

Brandon works as Major Gifts Officer for Antioch College in Dayton. Ohio and is the owner of the Advanced Running Project.

He previously served as the director of the U.S. Air Force Marathon & U.S. Space Force T-Minus 10-Miler. During his tenure at the Air Force Marathon, Brandon’s efforts led to significant growth in sponsorships, revenues, staff, and partnerships. He was named a Dayton 40 under 40 and he is also a previous recipient of the Running USA Rising Star Award.

After graduating from the U.S. Air Force Academy with a B.S. in Economics, Brandon was a contracting officer in the U.S. Air Force. While on active duty he obtained a Master’s in Sports Administration from Xavier University at which point he transitioned into the running industry where he led the operations for Spectrum Sports Management, Inc. He is currently earning a Master of Public Affairs in Nonprofit Management from Indiana University. A lifelong runner, Brandon enjoys the trials of miles and miles of trials as evidenced by his lifetime best of 2:33 in the marathon. In his free time he enjoys spending time outdoors with his wife Dr. Ashley Hough who shares his passions for conservation, nature, and birds. Brandon and Ashley reside in Yellow Springs, Ohio with their son Hunter.

Bryan Lively

Director – (Term through June 2023)
President and CEO, ACL Squared Consulting

Bryan Lively is the President and CEO of ACL Squared Consulting. ACL Squared Consulting provides business planning and expertise as well as fundraising coaching and strategies to help businesses and nonprofits alike grow and thrive to their full potential. ACL Squared Consulting is dynamic, innovative, results driven and ahead of the curve. Bryan works with charities, events, vendors and companies within the running community including being the Charity Director for the Detroit Marathon.

Bryan was formerly the Vice President of Sales & Customer Success at CrowdRise. CrowdRise is the platform that millions of people, charities, companies and celebrities use to give back. Bryan was instrumental in their growth to lead to a sale to GoFundMe.

Bryan prides himself on being balanced to truly enjoy everything life has to offer. Outside of the office, Bryan enjoys spending time with his wife and two daughters. He enjoys running all distances as well as cycling and yoga.

Jeff Matlow

Director – (Term through June 2025)
CEO, By Title Only

Jeff is a successful entrepreneur and business leader. He has extensive experience with both non-profit and for-profit entities, including decades of work with National Governing Bodies.

Jeff has served on the Executive Team for the Running USA Board of Directors for 12 years, including stints as President and Secretary of the organization. Matlow is an active participant in the Strategic Planning Committee, Annual Conference Committee, Membership Committee and Technology/Data Committee. He also is the leader of the Data Insight Series, an educational, data driven webinar for the entire running industry. The Data Insight Series is Running USA’s most successful webinar series to date.

Jeff also served on the USA Triathlon Board of Directors, were he was elected Treasurer. In his role there, he created the organization’s rainy-day fund investment strategy, which saw greater than 40% growth through his tenure. He created and chaired USA Triathlon’s Marketing Committee, and participated in the technology committee. Matlow is responsible for conceptualizing and launching the online membership validation/purchasing platform and waiver management system, which has since become the technology standard for sports registration platforms.

Jeff is the founder and CEO of By Title Only, an organization that transforms leadership and accelerates growth for companies in transition. He also writes a popular newsletter focused on behaviors of successful leaders, delivered with a side dollop of humor.

Prior to By Title Only, Jeff was the founder and CEO of I Am Athlete, LLC., a leading provider of data management, marketing and registration solutions for the endurance market. I Am Athlete was acquired by Gannett Media (NYSE:GCI).

He began his career in the music industry where he worked with such artists as James Brown, Everclear and the Black Eyed Peas. He founded the record label, crank! which was subsequently acquired by the Universal Music Group.

Following that, Jeff created SG Marketing, an agency that developed product launch strategies for Fortune 500 companies including Citibank, Universal, Nike, Kellogg’s and Kraft. Upon selling that business to Alloy, Inc, Jeff became the company’s General Manager / SVP, overseeing a client list that included 60% of Fortune 500s.

In his spare time, Jeff is a journalist, runner, Ironman triathlete, craft-er and father of a 9-year old spitfire of a girl.

Kyle McLaughlin

Director – (Director term through June 2023)
SVP – Operations, CLEAR and Partner, Parachute Group

Kyle McLaughlin is Senior Vice President – Operations at CLEAR, which helps travelers quickly & more securely get through airport security. He is also co-founder and partner at Parachute Group, a management consultancy serving the sport, events & entertainment industry with a specific focus on growth strategy and risk management. Kyle is a recognized leader across the endurance industry, and a regular speaker and educator at industry events around the world.

Previously, McLaughlin was the global CEO of Tough Mudder, one of the world’s most recognizable obstacle course brands. Joining Tough Mudder in 2018, Kyle led a transformative overhaul of the brand’s event product and internal operations across four owned and 20 licensed countries, driving double digit growth in group sales, sponsorship and customer satisfaction scores while dramatically improving overall profitability and facilitating acquisition by Spartan in February 2020.

Prior to Tough Mudder & Parachute, Kyle spent six years at New York Road Runners leading a diverse portfolio of production, experiential and safety business units, and built NYRR’s safety and security program following Boston 2013. He previously served as a member of the NCS4 (National Center for Spectator Sport Safety and Security) Advisory Board from 2014-2018, and was the editor and a contributing author of their first edition Marathon Safety & Security Best Practices Guide. His other work credentials include years in experiential marketing agencies and the nonprofit sector. Kyle lives in Montclair, NJ with his wife, daughter and rescue pup, and can often be found out putting in miles on the local streets before sunrise.

Meghan Najera

Board Treasurer – (Term through June 2023)
Co-Owner, RunFAR Racing Services

Meghan serves as Co-Owner of RunFAR Racing Services, Inc. based in the Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex. RunFAR is a full service timing and results company managing data and finish lines for over 200 events a year in and outside of Texas. Alongside her husband Raul, Meghan leads the production side of RunFAR and works with the largest events in Texas including, Capital 10k, 3M Half Marathon, Austin Marathon, Dallas Marathon, Houston Half, and The Cowtown Marathon. Meghan has been an integral part of expanding RunFAR’s portfolio of customers and building partnerships. Meghan holds a Masters in Accounting from Baylor University and began her career in special events, sponsorship and later in new business growth for non-profits. Her passion for the endurance industry has been life-long, first as a swimmer and now as a marathoner. This has evolved into focusing on the growth of the running industry by supporting our youngest runner with kids events up through middle and high school cross country. In addition, Meghan strongly believes successful events are as strong as their weakest vendor relationship. She resides in Mansfield, Texas with her husband Raul and two kids.

Michael Nishi

Director – (Term through June 2025)
COO, Chicago Event Management

Michael Nishi is the Chief Operating Officer for Chicago Event Management. Nishi oversees the production of all events with a particular focus in event operations, emergency response and sustainability logistics. With his extensive operational knowledge, Michael was integral in guiding a local road race of 6,000 runners to a world-class event that saw over 45,700 marathon finishers in 2019.

In addition to his work on the Chicago Marathon, Michael is a driving force in increasing the exchange of ideas and best practices among events of all size and scope. Recognizing the unique issues of the endurance sports industry, Nishi founded the Race Management Program 12 years ago to offer event organizers an intimate forum to share ideas with one another. As an active leader in the running industry, he continues to advocate for greater safety and security not only for Chicago Event Management clients but also for events around the world. Michael is currently serving as Co-Chair on the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety & Security’s (NCS4) Marathon & Endurance Events Advisory Committee.

An avid runner and cyclist, Michael sits on the board of Girls on the Run Chicago and is a committee member at City Garden Pre-School in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood. He and his wife Dona, and their two daughters, live in Chicago where they are active community members in their Little Italy neighborhood.

Max Siegel

Director
CEO, USATF

Sports and entertainment executive Max Siegel became the fourth CEO of USA Track & Field on May 1, 2012. At USATF, Siegel quickly went to work on growing the USATF business. Since February, 2013, USATF has announced partnerships with The Hershey Company, Neustar, the University of Phoenix, Coach’s Eye, and a landmark deal with Nike.

Working in various executive capacities in the sports and entertainment fields over the last 20 years, Siegel’s track record has consistently been that of financial growth and competitive success.

He previously served as President of Global Operations at Dale Earnhardt Inc., where he sold tens of millions of dollars in sponsorship; and as Senior Vice President at Sony/BMG and as President of Zomba Gospel, Tommy Boy Gospel and Verity Records, where he led one of the most profitable divisions in the Sony BMG system. As a music executive, he increased top-line revenue and reduced expenses to yield unprecedented profit in the gospel industry. He also was part of the executive team overseeing the careers of stars such as Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, and Usher.

Heidi Swartz

Director – (Term through June 2023)
Executive Director, The Cowtown

Heidi Swartz is Executive Director of The Cowtown Marathon in Fort Worth, Texas in its 44th year. With Heidi’s direction the event has nearly tripled in size since 2004, with over 25,000 participants and seven races taking place the last weekend in February. In 2006, she created The Cowtown Marathon’s associated non-profit, C.A.L.F. (Children’s Activities for Life and Fitness), which in the past 12 years has provided over 430,000 pairs of running shoes to disadvantaged children along with greatly reduced entry fees for The Cowtown Kids 5K Run.

By bringing fitness awareness and running enthusiasm to local schools, Heidi – a runner, herself – is invested in making the City of Fort Worth a healthier place to live. She has served on the FitWorth board, the Mayor of Fort Worth’s healthy living initiative, serves on the Marketing Advisory Board for Visit Fort Worth and the board of the Fort Worth Sports Commission.

Heidi is also a successful and in-demand consultant for other race events in the DFW area, acting as an expert in race management and producing multiple events throughout the year.

Kathleen Titus

Director – (Term through June 2025)
Owner/Race Director, All Fitness Events

Kathleen is the Owner/Race Director of All Fitness Events, which she founded seven years ago. She also serves as Race Director for the Philadelphia Marathon Weekend.

Kathleen was a corporate executive for more than two decades before turning her passion for running and the fitness industry into a successful business. She has a strong passion for helping our industry grow and expand. Kathleen’s background in destination marketing has allowed her to help over 100 events from small to large improve their online presence through social media, e-commerce and web, and grow participation levels as a result.

Prior to being named Race Director for the Philadelphia Marathon in 2021, Kathleen worked with the event on its marketing, PR and elite athlete management. She is actively engaged with the city’s local running clubs and charities to meet and recruit athletes, including adaptive athletes and LGBTQ+ participants.

When she’s not helping events excel, Kathleen is a certified running coach, race director and yoga instructor.

Matt West

Board President – (Director term through June 2023)
CEO, DMSE

Matt West is the CEO at DMSE Sports, a leader in mass participatory event management and operations. Matt handles the day-to-day operations of DMSE. He is involved in every event, either via staffing, management or marketing. He also handles many government, client and vendor relations.

Currently, working with the BAA Operations Department, Matt serves as the Finish Line Manager for the B.A.A. Boston Marathon. Matt also manages the finish line at the ASICS Falmouth Road Race and serves on the board of the TD Beach to Beacon 10K Road Race. Matt also serves as Race Director for the lululemon San Diego 10K. He also handles all of the consultant planning, travel arrangements and logistics for DMSE’s events. In his spare time, Matt is the Operations Director for the Antarctica Marathon.

While DMSE’s events were shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Matt served as the Vaccine Operations Director for CIC-Health. The CIC-Health team stood up 4 mass vaccination sites at historic and notable landmarks in Massachusetts including Fenway Park, Gillette Stadium, the Hynes Convention Center and the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center. Matt also lead the charge on over 300 pop-up clinics to bring vaccine to where people who needed it most were. The CIC-Health team along with it’s partner organizations, distributed over 1.3 million doses of vaccine in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Matt joined DMSE in 2006 from the non-profit arts world, where he was the marketing manager for First Night Boston and worked for the Celebrity Series of Boston. He currently lives in Somerville, MA with his wife Sara and son Graham. Matt is a 2004 graduate of Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. and is originally from Marshfield, Mass.

Tony Yamanaka

Board Secretary – (Director term through June 2023)
Brand Partnerships Director, BibRave

Tony Yamanaka was named Brand Partnerships Director at BibRave in 2021.

Previously, Tony served as the Vice President of Operations for Event Southwest of Austin, Texas, a full-service event production company providing top-level event production & management for mass participation events, where he produced and managed the execution of marquee projects for Event Southwest including the Dallas, Oklahoma, Houston and Chicago Marathons.
Tony holds a Master’s in Marketing from the University of Edinburgh Business School in Scotland where he focused his post-graduate research on long-distance running and it’s effects on the self-concept construct. Additionally, Tony was a member of a keynote panel at the 2018 Running USA industry conference in Austin, focusing on participant retention for the running industry.