November 11, 2016
Contact: Jeff Darman
MarathonFoto/Road Race Management Lifetime
Achievement Award Honors Browning Ross
RRCA Founder and Running Magazine Pioneer
As a highlight of the Road Race Management Race Directors' Meeting, Browning Ross was named the MarathonFoto/Road Race Management Lifetime Achievement Award winner for 2016. The award is made for contributions to the sport of long distance road running over the course of a lifetime. Scores of nominations were received that read like a Who's Who of running. The 10-member committee had the difficult task of reviewing the nominees.
"Today we honor a pioneer, a person who really made a significant difference," said Phil Stewart, editor and publisher of
Road Race Management.
Tom Osler, a competitive distance runner of the 50's and 60's, once said of the winner,
"Browning Ross was the father of modern road racing in the United
States, the father of running magazines as we know them in this country
and the father of the Road Runners Club of America."
Ross was a talented runner who competed in the 1948 and 1952 Olympics as a steeplechaser. In the 1951 Pam Am
Games, he won the 1500m, garnered silver in the steeplechase and was fourth in the 5000m.
Freddi Carlip, editor of
Runner's Gazette and a past RRCA President, said of him at his induction into the National Distance Hall of Fame,
"Browning Ross didn't want glory or fame. His joy came from the sport he
loved so much, from coaching, from putting on races week after week -
low-frills/no-frills events, where competition and camaraderie took
precedence over fancy awards."
Carlip went on to say,
"Browning was banned from AAU, the then NGB, for selling running shoes
from the trunk of his car. He put the needs of the runners first.
Runners needed shoes; Browning provided them. He was banned a second
time when he took a young woman to a marathon in Philadelphia and told
her to run, over the objections of the race officials. Runners came
first. Running was for everyone, regardless of age or gender."
His New York Times obituary, written by famed sportswriter, Frank Litzky, told more of Ross' story.
"In 1957, borrowing an idea he had encountered in England, he formed the Philadelphia Road Runners Club." Osler, a charter member of the club, explained how significant this was:
"That gave us weekly races, maybe only 20 or so runners per race, but the
opportunity was there. For many years, it was the way distance runners
"Ross expanded the one-city club into a national organization by founding the Road Runners Club of America as an alternative to the Amateur Athletic Union and its limited program for distance runners," Litzky wrote. On February 22, 1958, plans were laid that would one day greatly affect the lives of millions of runners and event directors, as the discussions that day at NYC's Paramount Hotel resulted in the RRCA and the NYRRC.
About the same time, Ross started the Long Distance Log, which began as a mimeographed newsletter for 150 subscribers and became a printed magazine before it ceased publication in 1975.
The Lifetime Achievement Award was presented at the annual Road Race Management Race Directors' Meeting on November 11, in St. Petersburg, FL and accepted by his daughter, Bonnie Ross.
Road Race Management (www.rrm.com) is a member-based organization that publishes a newsletter and many other publications designed for race and industry professionals, and conducts a prestigious annual national race directors' meeting and trade show in Florida. MarathonFoto (www.marathonfoto.com) is the world's largest race photography company.