The 2020 Running USA Board of Directors election is underway. With the full support of the Running USA Board of Directors, this year’s election has a recommended slate of candidates.


Recommending a slate of candidates allows the Governance and Elections Committee to streamline the election process and identify candidates who can best support the organization and its current needs. These candidates are recommended based on their experience, leadership and commitment to our sport.


All terms will be for three years, concluding in June 2023.


New Directors:


Alex Bennett

Vice President, Events at IRONMAN

Alex Bennett began producing events as a concert promoter nearly 30 years ago which eventually evolved into venue and facility management at both KeyArena and Seattle Center. Throughout it all, Alex was an avid marathon runner and when the opportunity arose in 2012 to be VP of Events at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series, he jumped at the chance. Since then, he has been a champion for keeping race execution at the core of the brand and when the IRONMAN Group acquired Competitor Group, that focus did not waiver. The goal of maintaining great running events that help grow the sport and the spirits of every participant is now more important than ever.


Meghan Najera

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.


Kyle McLaughlin

CEO, Tough Mudder

Partner, Parachute Group

Kyle McLaughlin is the global CEO of Tough Mudder, one of the world’s most recognizable obstacle course brands, now a part of the Spartan Race group. He is also co-founder and partner at Parachute Group, a management consultancy serving the sports, 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. 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 the acquisition by Spartan.

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.



Returning Directors:

Donna Grogan

Vice President, Development & Fundraising for the Lupus Foundation of America

Donna Grogan is Vice President, Development & Fundraising for the Lupus Foundation of America where she oversees 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.


Bryan Lively

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.


Heidi Swartz

Executive Director, The Cowtown

Heidi Swartz is Executive Director of The Cowtown Marathon in Fort Worth, Texas. In its 39th year with over 26,000 participants and six races over the last weekend in February, The Cowtown Marathon has nearly tripled in size since 2004 under Swartz’s direction. In 2006, she created The Cowtown Marathon’s associated non-profit organization, C.A.L.F. (Children’s Activities for Life and Fitness), which provides over 5,000 disadvantaged children with greatly reduced entry in the race and free training equipment, including running shoes.

Actively involved in her city’s health and prosperity, Swartz currently serves as secretary on the board of “FitWorth,” the Mayor of Fort Worth’s healthy living initiative, and the Marketing Advisory Board of the Fort Worth Convention and Visitors Bureau. Heidi Swartz 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.


Matt West


Matt West is the CEO at DMSE Sports, a leader in mass participatory event management and operations. Matt handles much of 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 is the event director of the B.A.A. 5K, B.A.A. 10K and B.A.A. Half Marathon. He also serves as the Finish Line Manager for the B.A.A. Boston Marathon and the New Balance Falmouth Road Race. He also handles all of the consultant planning, travel arrangements and logistics for DMSE’s away events. In his spare time, Matt is the Operations Director for the Antarctica Marathon.

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. A resident of Somerville, Mass., Matt is a 2004 graduate of Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. and is originally from Marshfield, Mass.


Tony Yamanaka

Vice President of Operations, Event Southwest

Tony Yamanaka serves 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. In this role, Tony produces and manages 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.