Ambassador Award Recipients
Recipients of the Akron Marathon Ambassador Award have made significant contributions and lasting impacts to the sport of running. Learn more about these leaders of the industry below.
Kathrine Switzer will always be best known as the woman who challenged the all-male tradition of the Boston Marathon and became the first woman to officially enter and run the event. Kathrine’s career has included creating programs in 27 countries for over 1 million women that led to the inclusion of the women’s marathon as an official event in the Olympic Games, changing forever the face of sports, health and opportunities for women around the world.
Bill Rodgers is one of the most celebrated men’s distance runners in history. He is a four-time winner of the Boston and New York City marathons, and is widely regarded as one of the great marathoners of all time. Bill is a member of the National Track & Field Hall of Fame and the National Distance Running Hall of Fame and was a member of the 1976 U.S. Olympic marathon team. He is a two-time RRCA Masters Runner of the Year and has won numerous awards in the running industry.
Amby Burfoot has been a lifelong runner who now combines his knowledge and love of running with his writing and editing skills. He is the executive editor of Runner’s World magazine. Amby won the Boston Marathon in 1968. He is an advocate of healthy living and successful author of many blogs, articles, and books.
Hal Higdon is a Contributing Editor for Runner’s World and author of numerous books, including the best-sellingMarathon: The Ultimate Training Guide. He ran eight times in the Olympic Trials and won four world masters championships. He has served as a trainer and coach for runners of all ages.
Craig Masback was the Chief Executive Officer of USA Track & Field (USATF), the national governing body for track and field, long distance running and race walking from 1997 to 2008. Masback has also provided network television commentary on various track and field events for NBC, CBS, ESPN and ABC over a 30-year broadcasting career, including serving as an analyst for NBC at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, which marked his fourth Olympic broadcast.
Creigh Kelley has done radio and TV color commentary at local and national events for the past 33 years, including the Half Marathon Championships, World Triathlon Championships, and the Summer Olympics in Sydney. He has also served as an executive committee member of the USATF Long Distance Running division and is a founding member and national board member of Running USA. He currently serves as the President of BKB, Limited.
Joan Benoit Samuelson won the gold medal the inaugural women’s marathon in the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, establishing her as one of the leading role models for women in the running industry. She has been recognized as the Women’s Master Runner of the Year in 1998 from the Road Runner’s Club of America, and was a 1999 inductee into the International Women’s Sports Foundation Hall of Fame. Currently, she is a consultant to Nike and a clinician, conducting numerous running, health, and fitness clinics throughout the United States and the world.
Frank Shorter is the only American to hold two medals in the Olympic marathon event (Gold in 1972, Silver in 1976) and is credited with igniting the running boom in the United States in the Seventies. Shorter was inducted into the Olympic Hall of Fame in 1984 and the USA National Track and Field Hall of Fame in 1989. In addition to an incredible running career, Shorter is the co-founder of the Bolder Boulder 10k, one of the largest races in the country and an event he won in 1981. He also helped establish the United States Anti-Doping Agency and served as its chairman from 2000 to 2003.
Meb Keflezighi is the only athlete in history to win the New York Marathon, the Boston Marathon and an Olympic Medal. From his arrival in America as a refugee from war-torn East Africa to his victorious finish at the emotionally charged 2014 Boston Marathon—now as a proud and patriotic American—Meb has secured not only his place in history, but also in the hearts and minds of millions. In between training, competing and making personal appearances, he oversees the MEB (Maintaining Excellent Balance) Foundation, which is committed to promoting youth health, education and fitness.