Road Runners Club of America

We Run the Nation: Growing the Sport of Running Since 1958

Keynote Speakers

Friday Luncheon Speaker - Doug Kurtis

Doug.Kurtis.Running Doug Kurtis holds the World Record for the most sub-2:20 marathon finishes.  He has completed 205 marathons with 200 of those finishes under 3 hours, with the last sub-3 hour marathon run at age 61.  He's won 40 marathons in his career with 12 of those wins running as a masters.  He is a five-time Olympic Trials qualifier: 1980, 1984, 1988, 1992, and 1996.

Doug is currently the race director for the Cork Town Races that draws close to 10,000 participants.  He is also the race director for Detroit's Thanksgiving Turkey Trot which boasts over 20,000 participants making it one of the largest Turkey Trot races in the US. 

Saturday Luncheon Speaker - Craig Virgin

craig.virginCraig Virgin is an American distance runner who is the only American male to be on three Olympic teams in the 10,000 meters (1976, 1980, 1984), and the only American male to win the IAAF World Cross Country Championships...and did it twice.  His victories came in Paris, France (1980) and Madrid, Spain (1981).

Throughout his life, Craig called upon himself to produce results and achieve goals despite many daunting obstacles, including reconstructive childhood surgery, an upbringing with modest financial resources, limited athletic facilities/equipment, and later on, a traumatic head-on car accident.  He believes that ideal conditions or circumstances are not always necessary to be the best... but that the right attitude and a strong inner drive will always take you further!  Craig's life story---his ability to identify and commit to his dreams, persistence in the face of adversity and knack for reaching his goals some way or somehow will make you examine your own attitude, as well as your own self-imposed limits and boundaries.  Craig Virgin will show you that we are all truly capable of surviving or achieving far more than we think. 

Saturday Dinner Speaker - Desiree Linden

Desi LindenTwo-time U.S. Olympic Marathoner Desiree Linden is a native of San Diego suburb Chula Vista, California. Linden earned All-American honors in both cross country and track during her tenure at Arizona State University before joining the Hansons Brooks Distance Project in Rochester, Michigan. Linden wowed the marathon world with her near win at the 2011 Boston Marathon. Her second place finish, an incredible 2:22:38, set an all-time U.S. record on the Boston course (since broken) and made her the third fastest American ever. Linden was named USA Track & Field’s Athlete of the Week for her performance.

In 2015, Des participated at the Boston Marathon which featured a strong international field and the top three US marathoners. She finished as top American and held on for a strong 4th place finish, less than 45 seconds from the win. She bested two former Boston champions, a Berlin and Rotterdam Marathon champion, and the World Junior Record holder. Des now owns three of the six top American times in history on the famed Boston course.

In the summer of 2015, Des earned the Pan-Am Games Silver Medal in the 10,000 meter race. In early 2016 she finished 2nd at the US Olympic Marathon Trials in LA, she followed that up with a runner-up performance at the US Half Marathon Championships and a strong showing at the 2016 Rio Olympics, finishing 7th. Other career highlights include earning her spot on the US Olympic Team at the 2012 London Summer Games with a runner up performance at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials (2:25:55), a runner up performance at the 2013 US Half Marathon Championships, 11th at the 2009 Marathon World Championships (2:27:53) and multiple top five performances at four of the six World Marathon Majors: her Boston runner-up in 2011, 3rd at the 2010 Chicago Marathon (2:26:20), and 5th place showings at the 2008 Chicago Marathon (2:31:33), 2013 Berlin Marathon (2:29:15) and blustery conditions at the 2014 NYC Marathon (2:28:11) where she was the top American. Earlier in 2014, she clocked an impressive 2:23:54 in Boston.

Linden graduated from Hilltop High School in Chula Vista in 2001 and studied psychology at Arizona State University. A self proclaimed bacon aficionado, her hobbies include writing, collecting assorted whiskeys, coffee drinking, throwing out first pitches at Major League ballgames, relaxing with her dogs Miles and Atlas, listening to good music and outrunning her husband, fellow marathoner and budding triathlete and Kona veteran, Ryan Linden.

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