Running USA 2022 RecapWritten by
Last week we were on hand at the Running USA 2022 conference in Orlando, FL. It was great to experience in-person events once again, and reunite with so many amazing friends throughout the industry. The event drew close to 500 attendees and focused heavily on topics including diversity and inclusion in racing and marketing to new, expanded audiences.
As part of the three-day event, Running USA honored four exceptional contributors to the racing community. Virginia Brophy Achman, Executive Director of Twin Cities in Motion, and Rich Kenah, CEO of Atlanta Track Club, were named to the Running USA Hall of Champions. Alison Desir, co-founder of the Running Industry Diversity Coalition, received the inaugural Running USA Award of Excellence. Finally, Jan Seeley, Race Director of the Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon, received the Women’s Leadership Award. You can check out all the details about these four incredible award winners here.
The conference featured several in-depth discussions about how to improve diversity, inclusion and equity (DEI) in our industry. One panel that stood out featured four experts in the field of DEI and accessibility, including Alison Desir, Emily Glasser, president and CEO of Achilles International, Erica Edwards-O’Neal, SVP of DEI with New York Road Runners, and Rosalyn Durant, SVP of Operations at Walt Disney World. They absolutely nailed it when discussing how we cannot make progress by staying in our comfort zones. The panel provided areas for improvement such as running in diverse communities, addressing bias via leadership trainings, creating auditable business practices and partnering with local high schools or diversity groups.
Another overall takeaway from several discussions was the concept that diversity is not restricted to just racial components. Gender, physical and mental abilities, age, and many other factors comprise overall diversity within an event or an organization. Boosting applicant diversity starts with building a presence at community colleges, HBCU’s, youth centers and adding diversity to your social media presence.
We were also able to sit in on a live recording of the 2 Black Runners podcast, which featured an interview with Marko Cheseto, the marathon world record holder by a double amputee. The podcast is a weekly recording hosted by brothers Aaron and Joshua Potts, distance runners and advocates for change within the sport. Cheseto’s energy and inspiration were contagious. His story of perseverance after suffering through mental and physical disaster and tragedy is truly legendary and the crowd was visibly moved by his words.
haku Epcot Reception
And what would a conference be without a haku event? We were joined by a group of our friends and colleagues at Epcot for a dinner reception at the beautiful Canada Terrace and an exclusive viewing of Disney’s brand new fireworks show from the Rue de Paris. It was breathtaking, to say the least. The views, lights, music and fireworks felt like a grand culmination of two long years apart from our partners. Check out some of the best moments of the conference below!
We can’t wait for Running USA 2023 in Denver! See you all there!