DENVER, CO – The Denver Colfax Marathon celebrates the career of its longtime race director, Creigh Kelley, a founding member of Running USA and part of the organization’s Hall of Champions, as he transitions into a race director emeritus role. Kelley, who has been with the marathon since its inception 18 years ago, is stepping away from his official race director duties in the industry.

“I have always chosen to step away when it felt just right,” said Creigh Kelley, Race Director Emeritus of the Denver Colfax Marathon. “It has been a passion of mine to provide events for people to participate in and encourage them to stick with the discipline of running. It has been a genuine pleasure to do so, and I will miss the camaraderie and collegiality.”

Kelley’s influence in the sport has been felt across the world. Sports industry leaders call him a pioneer when it comes to the business side of running. Kelley started his career in the sports endurance business in the 1970s, paving the way for many others who soon followed in his footsteps.

“The industry is what it is today because of a few people like Creigh, and we all owe a debt of gratitude to him,” said Dave McGillivray, the Boston Marathon Race Director of over 30 years and a long-time colleague of Creigh Kelley. “He proved so many naysayers wrong – proving that if one is passionate and determined, disciplined and organized, that we could create a business by producing road races, charity walks and even triathlons. He was one of the first to step out on this limb. As such, Creigh set the standard for many of us to follow.”

Kelley, an elite runner himself, started running at the age of 15. But his love for the sport went beyond participating in the sport. He took the industry to new heights, pushing boundaries and creating new opportunities for elite athletes.

“I recognized that being an agent for world-class distance runners, particularly Olympians, could be lucrative and exciting,” Kelley said. “As money became legally available to runners after college, running events world-wide created prize purses to lure those great athletes to compete. I became one of the first four major running agents in the United States.”

“Creigh’s impact on the running industry cannot be overstated,” said friend and Walt Disney World Race Director Emeritus Jon Hughes. “I can truly say that not only has the sport grown because of Creigh, but it is in a much better place because of him. Creigh is responsible for elevating elite athletes in the early days as well as the sport itself. I don’t think there’s any part of this sport he has not touched. From announcing to directing, representing athletes and his involvement in the political/governmental side as well.”

Kelley is one of the nation’s most popular and recognizable announcers, having been the voice of many of the largest triathlon and running events in the U.S. and abroad for the past 43 years. He helped start Running USA in 1999 and served as a board member. Kelley is a member of the Running USA National Hall of Champions and received the 2021 Road Race Management Lifetime Achievement Award. He has managed over 1500 running events in Colorado over his career and has announced over a thousand races across the country.

“As an elite runner himself, he had a keen knowledge of what it took to produce a race not only for the masses but for the very best runners in the country and the world,” McGillivray said. “And what is more impressive about Creigh is that he never held what he knew and what he created close to the vest. He always shared his best practices noting that we are all in this together and we learn from each other.”

Creigh Kelley’s career has taken him into television and radio commentary for the World Triathlon Championships, Chicago Marathon, Columbus Marathon, the Summer Olympics in Sydney, and the PRRO Championships to name a few. ABC Sports Radio selected Kelley as their international Track and Field and Triathlon Analyst (Sydney Olympics) and he was awarded the SILVER DOME AWARD for Excellence in Broadcasting by the Illinois Broadcasters Association for his play-by-play commentary of the Chicago Marathon.

“I do not think I or the sport can thank Creigh enough for his dedication, perseverance, time and effort that he has given so graciously over the years,” Hughes said.

Kelley’s expertise and pure knowledge of the sport proved to be essential for Colorado. He was tapped by the City of Denver in 2004, along with Denver community leader Jean Townsend, to create the feasibility study of hosting a large-scale marathon in the Mile High City. Kelley’s expertise in race operations made the marathon a reality for the city, and it is currently Denver’s only marathon weekend.

“Creigh’s knowledge of the industry is second to none,” said Andrea Dowdy, CEO of the Denver Colfax Marathon. “He dials in to every operational aspect of our marathon weekend, as well as offers to help races around the country with his extensive knowledge. In this new chapter, we are excited to have him become the voice of our marathon weekend.”

In Denver, Kelley has transitioned into a new role as one of the lead announcers of the annual Denver Colfax Marathon, alongside pro-runner Brittany Charboneau. He also plans to keep announcing a handful of other races in the country while also improving his own personal time in the sport.

“It’s the lifestyle and the commitment to putting my feet on the floor and going out the door,” Kelley said. “The competitive aspect has always been the most attractive component. My future includes improving my training to become a bit faster. It also includes announcing a handful of running events around the country including the Denver Colfax Marathon Weekend, Brooklyn Half Marathon, the Cherry Blossom 10M (DC) and the Quad Cities Marathon Weekend.”

Kelley will also remain active in the Kipture Primary School Foundation in Kapsabet Kenya, a non-profit organization that he formed in 2004 to make education more attainable in the western part of Kenya.

“Not only was he a great race director but he was and still is a greater person – personable, compassionate, approachable and kind, McGillivray said. “On behalf of all the race directors in this country, I want to personally thank Creigh for being a mentor, a teacher, a cheerleader and an even greater friend.”