With the goal of providing increased opportunities for a diverse group of running industry young leaders, Running USA (RUSA) recently awarded its 2024 Running USA Industry Conference scholarships to six men and women. Each of the recipients will receive an event registration, lodging and airfare in order to attend the Running USA Industry Conference presented by haku in Orlando, Jan. 31 to Feb. 2.
Scholarships were funded through generous contributions by Chicago Event Management, RunSignup, Track Shack, the Running USA Board of Directors and Running USA.
“This year’s scholarship recipients are leading progressive conversations, driving positive change and introducing new people to the sport of running,” says Jay Holder, executive director of Running USA. “We look forward to learning from their successes and creating new connections in this welcoming community.”
The six 2024 scholarship recipients are:
- Tiffany K. Martin, Executive Change Strategist & Health Equity Advocate. Martin is an equity-minded thought leader, speaker, presenter, author and health equity advocate. She has been a runner for over 35 years and is the CEO of TKMartin Consulting LLC, the race director of the Not Just For Runners Community 5K/1-mile and Health Fair and the founder of an emerging nonprofit organization, Elevated Health and Community. Martin serves as an Executive Change Strategist and ICF-certified Professional Coach (CPC/CLC), specializing in diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging and organizational culture change.
- Yaku Moton-Spruill, Chef and Event Owner. Moton-Spruill (Chef Yaku) is a California Culinary Academy of San Francisco (Le Cordon Blue) graduate, the owner of the D.O.P.E Chef Society private chef and catering company, as well as the chef instructor of Primed and Prepped. After his first national television appearance on NBC’s “Food Fighters,” Chef Yaku competed on the Food Network’s “Cutthroat Kitchen,” “Food Network Star” and “Comeback Kitchen.” In 2022 Chef Yaku and his wife became co-owners of Pacific Coast Trail Runs, bringing his food experience as well as love for the running community to build a great overall experience for all, specializing in catering and post-race atmosphere.
- Andrea Lytle Peet, Athlete and Non-Profit Founder. Andrea Lytle Peet was diagnosed with ALS at the age of 33 in August 2014, less than one year after completing five triathlons in one season, including a 70.3-mile half Ironman. After diagnosis, she started Team Drea when friends kept remarking that her story had inspired them to take on a major athletic challenge. She encouraged friends and family to take on a race that represented a challenge to them and use it as an opportunity to raise money for ALS research. In October 2016, she and her husband, David, incorporated the Team Drea Foundation as a nonprofit to invest in the most promising ALS research on the horizon. In 2022, she became the first person with ALS to do 50 marathons in all 50 states.
- Liz Rock, Founder and Advocate. Liz Rock is the Co-Founder/Co-Organizer of The Bra Run and TrailblazHers Run Co. Her motto is that movement is power and that it’s not about being perfect, but about pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone. “Movement is for everyBODY.” Her passion for fitness stemmed from her own health/wellness journey about eight years ago. She has run four marathons (Boston, New York, London and Chicago) and has completed a century ride. She is on a mission to create safe and accessible spaces for women.
- Carolyn Su, Athlete, Speaker, Content Creator. Carolyn Su is a trail runner, marathoner, public speaker and the creator of the Instagram platform, @DiverseWeRun, where she writes short-form features to amplify runners who are Black, Indigenous, or Persons of Color. She advocates for racial representation, equity, and inclusion in the sport of running. Su is also the co-host of the podcast, Making Strides, with Stefanie Flippin, where they discuss the experiences of navigating the running world as female-identifying, BIPOC athletes. Her ultimate mission is to equip and empower all people to show up fully as themselves, in all aspects of life.
- Verna Volker, Founder and CEO. Runner Verna Volker is the founder of Native Women Running, which began as a virtual community for Indigenous women to connect and to increase the visibility of Native runners. The mission of the organization is “to build and nurture a community that features and encourages Native women runners on and off the reservation. We strive to increase visibility in the running world nationwide and worldwide for historically excluded runners.” Volker is from the Navajo Nation. She began her running journey 14 years ago for health, but it became a quest to learn more about herself and led her from short events to ultramarathons.
For more information, visit runningusa.org.