Citing “many challenges, including consolidation, globalization, increased competition, an urgent need to address diversity and inclusion, and the long-term economic and operational impacts of COVID-19,” Running USA announced this week that Rich Harshbarger will be stepping down as CEO effective August 1. Harshbarger , who has been CEO since 2014, will also relinquish his seat on the organization’s board of directors.

The Running USA board, in a letter to its members this week, said that these challenges “create new opportunities for our industry and our membership. As we focus on our growth strategy to rise beyond the challenges, we have determined that it is time for new leadership within our organization.”

In a post on its blog ( )

Running USA provided insight into how it will proceed with this reorganization:

Phase 1: Transition

Driven by Kyle McLaughlin, Matt West, Jeff Matlow and Lonnie Somers


  • Ensure seamless transition of current initiatives
  • Support staff, partners and membership
  • Identify an interim CEO to support day-to-day leadership of key initiatives
  • Deliver forward-looking strategic plan, focused on providing meaningful benefits to members and supporting a return to safe racing


Phase 2: Interim CEO

Interim CEO evaluation is underway


  • Support staff and day-to-day operations through Q4 2020
  • Begin implementation of key goals and initiatives in the strategic plan
  • Conduct nationwide search for permanent leadership


Phase 3: New CEO

New CEO search is expected to begin in September


  • Usher in the new phase of growth for Running USA and our members
  • Solidify our position as the leading industry authority and education source for the running community


“Running USA is committed to addressing the increased needs and desires of our members, as well as enhancing our role as a trusted leader and valuable resource in the running industry,” the board also wrote in the letter to its members. “Over the next several weeks and months, we will continue to innovate and announce new initiatives and opportunities focused on helping each of our members emerge stronger from the ongoing industry changes than we were before the challenges began.

Prior to his appointment, Harshbarger  was a marketing and communications executive for the Gannett Company for 20 years and was also the executive race director for the Detroit Marathon.