Road Runners Club of America

Road Runners Club of America

The Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) is a trade association of local running clubs and other running-related organization, which seeks to promote grass-roots running and fitness in the United States.Infobox Organization2
name= Road Runners Club of America

size=(image size, not required, default 250px)
caption= 1977 RRCA Logo
type= 501(c)(3) non-profit educational
headquarters= Arlington (Rosslyn), Virginia
membership= 180,000
president= Brent Ayer
executive= Jean Knaack
secretary= Lisa Paige
formation= February 22, 1958


In the 1950's there were very few opportunities for runners to train and compete after college. In the August 1957issue of the "Long Distance Long" an editorial by Olympian H. Browning Ross proposed to develop of anorganization for American distance runners. The concept was modeled after the Road Runners Clubof the United Kingdom founded in 1952. He suggested that membership include not only runners, but officials, racesponsors, coaches, and more. Ross envisioned the group would encourage running, meet regularly,raise funds, coordinate schedules, recruit sponsors, and promote competition in long-distance races.

At a February 22, 1958, meeting at the Paramount Hotel in New York City, Ross and nine others discussed the generaldirection for the organization and developed the basic operating structure. Ross was named acting provisional president. The first RRCA National Championship races were awarded, including a one-hour run, a 12 mile run, a 15 mile road race, a 5 mile junior championship road race, and a 10 mile track relay.

From 1966 through 1976, the RRCA conducted its business at an annual meeting held in conjunction with the Boston Marathon. Since 1977, the RRCA holds an annual convention for its membership at sites throughout the nation, usually in conjunction with a major race. [ [ Road Running - Road Runners Club of America - Services National Conventions ] ]

In 1974, the RRCA applied for and received IRS group exemption status. This allowed the RRCA theability to grant 501(c)(3) status to affiliate members that desired and qualified for the designation. That same year, the first group of RRCA State Representatives were recruited to assist RRCA members and recruit potential members. This evolved into the formal development of the RRCA State Representative Program which provides similar services today.

By 1977, RRCA membership had grown to 92 clubs and by the following year the membership included142 clubs representing over 33,000 individuals. The logo was re-designed to include the image of both a male and female runner. The RRCA sought to serve as a leader in the growinghealth and fitness movement, and in 1978, the RRCA adopted a policy that the organization would not accept sponsorship money from cigarette companies or producers of hard alcohol.

By 1989, membership was up to 450 clubs, and Henley Gabeau was selected to serve the organization as the first paid Executive Director. With a 650-square foot office in Alexandria, Virginia, the RRCA embarked on the development of a professional organization.

In 2001, Gabeau retired as Executive Director, and her successor was a polarizing figure. A schism developed and a number of running clubs formed a competing organization called the American Association of Running Clubs. However, following certain personnel and policy changes, the two organizations merged back together in 2005. Membership in 2006 exceeded 740 member clubs and events. It represents 180,000 individual runners.


* Liability insurance covering running events, including races conducted by member clubs.
* Runner's Safety, Education and Advocacy [ [ Road Running - Road Runners Club of America - Programs Safety, Education & Advocacy ] ]
* Coaching certification - to accredit coaches who specialize in training long distance runners. [ [ Road Running - Road Runners Club of America - Programs Coaching Certification ] ]
* National, Regional and State Championship races.
* Women's Distance Festival - a nation-wide series of 5K races for women only.
* Road ScholarsTM Program - to provide stipends for promising post-collegiate athletes. [ [ Road Running - Road Runners Club of America - Programs Roads Scholar ] ]
* National Run @ Work Day.
* "Footnotes" magazine.


The ultimate policy making power is vested in the member clubs who vote at the annual meeting or special meetings. The voting power of each club is proportional to its size. The membership elects a 10-member Board of Directors. Four Directors are responsible for four Regions of the nation. The four Regional Directors in turn select State Representatives to coordinate RRCA efforts in each state. (Some large states such as California and Texas have more than one state representative.) Although individuals can join the RRCA, the RRCA encourages individuals to join a local member running club where one is available. All members of each member running club receive the full benefits of RRCA membership.


In 1978, RRCA President, Jeff Darman helped lobby Congress for the passage of the Amateur Sports Act of 1978. The Act changed the nature of amateur sports in the US and essentially disbanded the AAU. This ended the virtual monopoly that the AAU had on Olympic sports governing in this country. The result of the breakup of the AAU was the formation of “The Athletics Congress/USA” (TAC/USA). Between 1980 and 1992, TAC/USA served as the official governing body for the sport. In 1992, TAC/USA changed their name to USA Track & Field (USATF) to increase recognition for their organization and the sport. USATF continues to serve as the governing body for the sport. The AAU continues on primarily as a youth sports organization. The RRCA continues to appoint USATF Directors and lobbies for fairness and inclusiveness in that organization. In the 1990s, the RRCA successfully lobbied to lift the requirement of USATF membership as a precondition to competing in major marathons.

The RRCA has promoted women's running, including lobbying for a Women Olympic Marathon and hosting women-only races. The RRCA has advocated equal prize structures for men and women runners.

The RRCA member clubs conduct thousands of races each year and provide training programs for runners in every state. Many RRCA clubs award college scholarships to local runners.

The RRCA has awarded 58 $5,000 annual Road Scholar stipends to promising post-collegiate athletes.


As a service to its members, the RRCA developed the RRCA Annual Awards to acknowledge the service and commitment of outstanding volunteers to the running community. Outstanding contributors are recognized at the National Convention in a variety of categories. The Annual Awards include the Male and Female Runners of the Year; the RRCA Hall of Fame Inductee; the Scott Hamilton Award for the Outstanding RRCA Officer or Club President; the RRCA Rod Steele Memorial Award for the Outstanding Club Volunteer; the Jerry Little Memorial Journalism awards for the Outstanding Individual and Club Newsletter; the RRCA Kurt Steiner Children's Award; the Browning Ross Spirit of the RRCA award, and the Fred Lebow Women's Running Award. [ [ Road Running - Road Runners Club of America - Services Annual Awards ] ]


External links

* [ Official Website]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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