Notes from the Road: Running USA CEO Rich Harshbarger Reports

Rich Harshbarger, Running USA
Running USA
August 15, 2017

It's been a busy summer for the Running USA staff and our board of directors


Time really flies. 


The summer is nearly over, the Fall season is just around the corner and we are six months away from Running USA’s Industry Conference in Austin (if you haven’t already registered, prices go up at the end of the month, reserve your spot now!).


I wanted to take a moment to update you on projects in the works, meetings and discussions we’re having and the general state of Running USA. A year ago at our summer board of directors meeting, we proclaimed that 2017 was going to be the year of membership. I am pleased to report that we are making good on that effort. Since January, more of you have renewed your memberships than have not and we continue to welcome an average of four to five new members per month. 


Our team is working hard to also provide meaningful and useful content each week via our newsletters, website, blog and social media channels. If your company has something we should know about, please send it to Scott Bush ( or Leah Etling ( so we can share your successes.


At our recent board meeting a few weeks ago, we welcomed three new board members, Sally Bergesen (Founder and CEO, Oiselle), Danny Bourgeois (Co-Founder, Marketing Director, Louisiana Marathon), and Lonnie Somers (CEO & Founder, Fetal Hope Foundation; President, Hallucination Sports) along with four returning board members:


  • Virginia Brophy Achman (Executive Director, Twin Cities in Motion)
  • Iris Simpson Bush (Executive Director, Flying Pig Marathon)
  • Faron Kelley (Vice President, Disney Sports & Water Parks)
  • Tony Reed (Founder, National Black Marathoners Association)


A complete list of our board and officers can be found, here:


During our meetings, we reported where we are and discussed more importantly, where we are headed. The good news is that the organization continues to be in a strong and stable financial position. We know we have areas to improve in offering more relevant member-benefits and we have some announcements coming very soon. Our software interface is also not the most friendly and we are working to improve that experience, as well as how information is presented.


The 2018 Industry Conference will be the largest to date. Afdhel Aziz will be one of our keynote presenters speaking about how Good is the new Cool and the importance of tapping into the purpose and usefulness in a brand. Of course our popular Race Camp series of sessions will return and help get conversations started early in the conference. Morning fun runs will also highlight downtown Austin and shirts provided by Leslie Jordan Inc. and medals provided by Ashworth Awards will also be provided.


Mass Participation AsiaSince our conference in Orlando earlier this year, you may have seen some of our team out on the road.  We hosted a networking reception with MYLAPS in Boston, helped at races in Cleveland and San Diego, presented at the Mass Participation Asia conference in Thailand and have many more events upcoming. We are excited to to be working with Race Roster on the Accelerator Series where we will focus on the topics of Sponsorship and How to Grow your Race in a series of six, regional workshops rolling out at the end of this month.


Our efforts continue to gain the interest of national, regional and local media outlets. Data, trends and general interest in our sport has Running USA consistently asked to help with stories in The Washington Post, Boston Globe, Runner’s World and many more. Look for a mini-feature in the September issue of Fortune Magazine.


As you can see, there is a lot of work going on at Running USA. As always, we want to hear from you. Please keep us posted on your successes, as we promise to do the same.


Hope to see you all at the annual industry conference or somewhere on the road before then.





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