Road Runners Club of America

Growing the Sport of Running Since 1958

RRCA National Running Awards

In 1971, the RRCA developed the RRCA National Running Awards to acknowledge the service and dedication of outstanding volunteers to the running community. Each year club and event leaders around the United States are encouraged to nominate outstanding individuals for an RRCA National Running Award. The outstanding contributors to our sport are recognized at the RRCA Annual Banquet and National Running Awards Ceremony. Each year the RRCA provides a travel stipend and a complementary ticket for these deserving individuals to attend the banquet and awards ceremony.

The RRCA National Running Award Categories:

Nomination & Selection Process

Anyone may nominate individuals, programs, clubs, or events for the various award categories. You may nominate more than one individual or organization for different awards or multiple individuals or organizations for an award​. All nominations must be made by submitting a separate nomination entry form for each submission. Review the Award Categories and Selection Criteria Information below; then complete the online nomination form during the nomination period. Nominations including supporting documents are due each year by 5:00 PM Eastern on January 15. Several awards ​require you to upload PDF samples to support your nomination.  Award winners are chosen by a volunteer selection panel from the nominations submitted for each award category.

RRCA Distance Running Hall of Fame

Developed in 1970, the RRCA American Long Distance Running Hall of Fame, inducts individuals who have given, not only athletic performance, but also to the overall contribution of the sport of long distance running. Preference is often given to competitive running performance. Inductees need not necessarily be near the end of or clearly past their prime competitive years. Inductees should have demonstrated long-term excellence (years of quality performance) as opposed to a few brief years of top performances. Exceptions may include, but are not limited to a world-record marathon or an Olympic Championship. Racing preferably should have been done at distances of 5 miles or longer. Shorter distances such as a 5K will be considered.

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Browning Ross Spirit of the RRCA Award

The Browning Ross Spirit of the RRCA Award was created to honor the memory of the RRCA’s founding member, Browning Ross, who died unexpectedly in April 1998. The award honors people who champion the RRCA tirelessly and enthusiastically, but prefer to stay in the background, letting others bask in the spotlight, just as Browning did. This award recognizes lifetime volunteer service over a period of many years to the running community. Nominees should have a considerable track record of being an active promoter of the RRCA and volunteering for their local club or event.

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Outstanding Club President of the Year

The general criterion for this award includes developing and applying a high level of administrative and organizational management skill for their club. Pursuing community involvement through financial donations, scholarship programs, youth programs, volunteer support, and developing relationships that benefit the mission of the club. Under the president’s leadership a club should see membership retention and growth, increased participation in club hosted events such as training runs and races, and a well rounded social atmosphere for club members. The president should also ensure the club has a volunteer recognition program, exceptional communication through email, website or newsletters about club activities.

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Road Runners of the Year

Developed in the 1975, the Road Runner of the Year Award was given to American runners with the most outstanding record of racing performances during the past year for open Male and Female runners. In 1984 RRCA added the categories, Male Masters and Female Masters. Both the open and masters category will be chosen by an expert selection panel. The general criteria for the open male and female runners of the year include top performances and accomplishments during the year. The types of races run and placement in those events is also an important criteria. Participation in RRCA Championship events is encouraged. Criteria for the Male Masters and Female Masters includes top performances and accomplishments during the year for a person over 40 years of age. The types of races run and placement in those events is also an important criteria. Participation in RRCA Championship events is encouraged as well as participation in the local running community.

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Road Runner of the Year - Challenged Athlete

Nominees for this award must actively participant in running events with a verified disability. For this award category, the RRCA defines a physically challenged athlete as a male or female athlete racing in multiple events throughout the course of the year without the use of a limb or combination of limbs (leg, arm). Athletes may race with or without the use of prosthetics. Athletes may also race using a push-rim wheelchair. Physical disabilities also include dwarfism, amputation/limb loss, blindness/visual impairment, spinal cord injury/wheelchair-users and cerebral palsy/brain injury/stroke. The person with the disability may or may not be a member of an RRCA club. However, special consideration will be given if a nominee is a member of an RRCA running club. The general selection criterion for this award includes performances and accomplishments at events during the year; the types of events the person has participated in; and placement in those events. Participation in RRCA member events is encouraged.

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Outstanding Volunteer of the Year

This award is given to recognize the outstanding volunteer (excluding the president) of a local club. A general selection criterion includes someone that is a dedicated volunteer to the local running club and someone that stands out among the other volunteers in the club.

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RRCA Communication Awards

Excellence in Running Journalism

For 2014, this award merges the Outstanding Club Writer with the Journalistic Excellence award to become one award that focuses on the quality of article writing about running related topics by the author. This award recognizes a top writer that produces editorial content for a club newsletter or other running related publications. The candidate may be a volunteer that writes for the club's newsletter or a freelance writer that is paid per article. The articles should be about running and should be memorable, creative and inspiring. Articles should promote the virtues of and support of grassroots (community-based) running through their writing and Is published in a local, regional or national publication. The Excellence in Running Journalism award requires 3 article samples, which should be uploaded as a single PDF document with the nomination.

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Communications Excellence Award

Beginning in 2018, the Outstanding Club Newsletter and Outstanding Website Award will merge to form one award: Communications Excellence Award. Combining these two awards more accurately reflects that organizations must now have dynamic and consistent content across a variety of media platforms. This award has three elements with corresponding criteria:  website, newsletter, and social media use.  Special consideration will be given to nonprofit clubs/events that utilize volunteers to manage their communication outreach.

  • Website – a club or event must have a well-organized website with key information presented in an easy to navigate format. The site should include up-to-date information; and event calendar that lists group run schedules/training programs; membership/participant information with ability to register online ; contact information for board of directors or key leadership beyond a contact form; and more.  RRCA logo and link noting membership affiliation is highly recommended.  A link to the website must be included with the nomination.
  • Print or E-Newsletter – a club or event must produce, at minimum, a quarterly print or e-newsletter/eblast informing members/participants about key information and point readers to the website or social media accounts of the organization.   The newsletters should highlight members, outline club/event activities, and more.  A PDF copy of two editions of a print or e-newsletter/eblast must be uploaded with the nomination.  Printed event programs can be submitted along with e-newsletters as part of the submission.
  • Social Media – a club or event must have one or more social media account(s) using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or others. The social media accounts should be posted on the club’s website.  Social media criterion includes regular posting of information about the club/event and its members or participants in a way that connect runners with the club or event.  Solid engagement by members/participants is a plus.  Private or member’s only accounts on Facebook should be made available to RRCA Programs upon request as part of the awards selection process.

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RRCA Outstanding State Representative of the Year in Honor of Al Becken

This award is an opportunity to honor your State Representative who fulfills their role with ambitious enthusiasm helping to promote running and the RRCA while assisting the local clubs with knowledge, communication and guidance. General selection criterion includes promotion of RRCA’s programs and services at the local level, support to the local running club, coordination of club information, regular communication with local clubs and events, and general promotion of the running community within their home state.This award was developed in 1984 to recognize the outstanding and superior service of our State Representatives. Al Becken was the first State Rep to receive the award and would continue to devote years of service to the RRCA.

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Outstanding Youth Running Program the Year

This award recognizes an outstanding youth running program along with the person responsible for leading or coordinating the program’s efforts. The program should engage children of various ages, races, and socioeconomic statuses, and should be open to both boys and girls. The program should operate as a multi-week program, allowing children to run at least 30 minutes or more per session and focusing on participation. The program coordinator should be someone that has made a significant effort in promoting, developing, and managing the running program in their community. Additional consideration will be given to programs that utilize the Kids Run the Nation educational curriculum or have received a Kids Run the Nation grant as part of their program.

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RRCA Outstanding Beginning Running Program Award

This award was initially created to recognize programs striving to ensure equal access for women to running at all distances. In 2008, with participation by women in running events nearly equal to that of men, this award transitioned to focus on programs that engage all new runners. General criterion includes programs that have multi-week training program that engages both men and women that are new or returning to the sport of running. The program should work to keep ​participants involved in a local club, not just get them to the finish line of a race, while also promote running as a lifelong activity and not just a distance goal. The program should teach new runners how to safely increase their event distance such as a 5K to 10K to Half-marathon to Marathon step training program. Special consideration will be given to programs that are voluntarily led by RRCA Certified Coaches.

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RRCA Road Race of the Year

In 2006, the RRCA launched the Road Race of the Year to acknowledge events that are organized as nonprofit races that provide safe, well-designed, and enjoyable events that promote grassroots running and the mission of the RRCA. General selection criterion: the event must be organized as a nonrprofit event or hosted by a nonprofit running club that is a member of the RRCA. While the race must be governed by a nonprofit Board of Directors, the Board may elect to hire a race director to implement the race plan approved by the Board. The event may be any size or distance road race or trail event. The race must have no insurance claims for the year. Special consideration will be given to events that include the RRCA logo on race materials and events that have received the RRCA Championship designation for the year. Road Race of the Year award requires one PDF document uploaded with the nomination that contains photos of finisher medal, t-shirts, website, and how the event incorporated the RRCA name and/or logo into event promotion.

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