DENVER (Feb. 14, 2022) – Running USA, the trade organization for the running industry, announces the recipients of its 2023 Industry Conference awards. The 19th Running USA Industry Conference, which concludes its 3-day event today in Denver, Colorado, had over 500 industry attendees.
“The Running USA Industry Conference is always a special time of year,” said Jeff Matlow, Running USA’s Interim Executive Director. “There is so much connecting and learning crammed into a few days. One of the highlights every year is our ability to celebrate and acknowledge some of the standout leaders.”
Hall of Champions
Named to the organization’s Hall of Champions as part of its 19th class were two respected industry leaders and race directors, Ted Metellus and Lonnie Somers.
Ted Metellus is the Race Director of the TCS New York City Marathon and Senior Vice President, Events, for New York Road Runners (NYRR). He leads NYRR’s event management and logistics, experiential events, youth events teams and oversees warehouse operations.
Ted has more than two decades of experience in endurance event production, marketing, and charity events. He has worked with Pallotta TeamsWorks, NYRR, Eventage, the Miami Marathon, Philadelphia Triathlon, Lifetime Triathlons, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series and IRONMAN before returning to NYRR for the NYC Marathon RD role in 2021.
Well known to Colorado runners, Lonnie Somers is Co-Owner of Denver-based HAL Sports along with his wife, Michelle. He has over 15 years of experience producing, consulting, and timing/scoring mass participatory endurance events. Lonnie is also the Chairman and CEO of the Fetal Health Foundation, an organization he and his wife founded after fetal surgery saved their identical twin daughters.
A recognized professional event announcer who travels nationally to many events each year, Lonnie is also a CPA and was Running USA’s longtime treasurer on a volunteer basis. In that role, he served as a member of the Board of Directors for over 14 years.
Award of Excellence
For the second time, Running USA named an Award of Excellence recipient for significant, timely change-making efforts in the sport. The second recipient of this award is Michael Nishi, COO of Chicago Event Management.
Michael is known throughout the running industry for his tireless pursuit of ways to make event operations safer, better organized and prepared for every contingency. He founded the Race Management Program 12 years ago to offer event organizers an intimate forum to share ideas. Michael serves as Co-Chair of the NCS4 Marathon and Endurance Events Advisory Committee.
Women’s Leadership Award
In the final presentation of the event, Heidi Swartz, Executive Director of The Cowtown Marathon in Fort Worth, Texas was awarded the Women’s Leadership Award. Under her leadership, the Cowtown has nearly tripled in size since 2004, with over 25,000 participants and seven races taking place the last weekend in February. This year, the Cowtown will host the USATF National Half Marathon Championship.
Heidi also created The Cowtown Marathon’s associated non-profit, C.A.L.F. (Children’s Activities for Life and Fitness), which has provided over 500,000 pairs of running shoes to disadvantaged Texas children and introduced them to the sport of running.
The 2024 Running USA Industry Conference will be held in Orlando, Florida, preceding the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials. Event dates are Jan. 31-Feb. 2, 2024. Registration and host hotel details will be shared soon.
About Running USA
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. For more information, visit runningusa.org
About the Industry Conference
Since its origins as a small gathering of Running USA’s founders in Southern California in 2004, the Running USA Industry Conference presented by Race Roster has grown to becoming the best-attended, most esteemed gathering of running industry professionals from around the USA and the world. Now moving locations each year, the conference has been held in Denver, Los Angeles, San Diego, Savannah, Houston, San Antonio, Orlando, New Orleans, Puerto Rico and Las Vegas. In 2024, it will return to Orlando Jan. 31-Feb. 2, preceding the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials.