The Ambassador Award presented by Westfield Bank 

The Akron Marathon’s Ambassador Award presented by Westfield Bank recognizes individuals who have demonstrated superior service and dedication to the running industry or who have earned respect within their community for their exceptional accomplishments.

Criteria for appointing an Ambassador:

  • Candidate’s sustained contributions (meant for an entire body of work, not just a single achievement) have been significant toward the advancement of the sport of running and its positive impact on society.
  • Candidate’s extraordinary efforts have been made on a local, national and/or international level.
  • Candidate’s contributions include, and are not limited to, sporting endeavors, community leadership, health & fitness, service, etc.


2008 Recipient

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.







2009 Recipient

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.

2010 Recipient

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.

2011 Recipient

Hal Higdon is a Contributing Editor for Runner’s World and author of numerous books, including the best-selling Marathon: 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.



2012 Recipient

Craig Masback From 1997 to 2008, 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. 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.  The London Games marks his fourth Olympic broadcast with NBC; he previously worked for NBC at the 1992 Barcelona Games, the 1996 Atlanta Games, and the 2008 Beijing Games, providing analysis for track and field events.

2013 Recipient

Creigh Kelley, locally known as the “voice of the Akron Marathon”, is one of nation’s most popular and recognizable race announcers.  For the past 33 years, Kelley has done radio and TV color commentary at local and national events, including the Half Marathon Championships, World Triathlon Championships, Chicago Marathon, and the Summer Olympics in Sydney, as well as many other events.  Furthermore, Creigh is a leader in the running industry and has served as an executive committee member of the USATF Long Distance Running division as well as a founding member and national board member of Running USA.  He currently serves as the President of BKB, Limited, which has produced, supervised, and managed over 1,000 events throughout the nation over the last 33 years.

2014 Recipient

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 most well-known role models for women in the running industry.  She has garnered several awards for her contributions, including 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.  The Cape Elizabeth, Maine, native has also authored two books: her autobiography, Running Tide, and Running For Women.  Currently, she is a consultant to Nike and a clinician, conducting numerous running, health, and fitness clinics throughout the United States and the world.