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SBJ/September 24-30, 2012/In Depth
Running the race
Eight people to know in the endurance and running space
Published September 24, 2012, Page 24
As chairman of Active Network, Alberga oversees the largest race registration platform in endurance sports, handling more than 4,500 annual running events. Long regarded as the industry’s version of Ticketmaster, the San Diego-based Active.com also has become a go-to source for endurance sports training information.
As president and CEO of Competitor Group, Dickey has overseen the expansion of an endurance sports conglomerate that includes the Rock ’n’ Roll Marathon Series, the TriRock Triathlon Series, Muddy Buddy events, and some of the industry’s most influential magazines, including Triathlete, Competitor and Inside Triathlon.
A former civilian counterterrorism officer in Great Britain, Dean proved skeptical Harvard Business School professors wrong by taking a school project and turning it into Tough Mudder. This year, 470,000 people will participate in the off-road obstacle event, which with $70 million in revenue is the leader in the booming obstacle race category.
In May 2011, the former AEG Sports president took over as CEO of World Triathlon Corp. and has worked to refocus the Ironman brand, raising the profile of the Tampa-based company that oversees nearly 100 Ironman and (half-distance) Ironman 70.3 races annually, attracting 200,000 participants.
As president and CEO of New York Road Runners, Wittenberg oversees the ING New York City Marathon. A former competitive runner who won the Marine Corps Marathon in 1987, Wittenberg landed ING as title sponsor and raised the profile of the event to rival the Boston Marathon.
Kalama reinvigorated the sport of stand-up paddle (SUP) surfing in the mid-1990s with friend and fellow big wave surfer Laird Hamilton. What once was seen as only a leisurely way to spend time on the water has evolved into a rapidly growing race category with events that become a brutal battle of attrition. Kalama is SUP’s most visible figure, designing paddleboards for Imagine Surf, conducting clinics and serving as all-around ambassador for the sport.
|Desena (right) poses with competitor Hobie Call.
A former Wall Street trader who once competed in 12 Ironman Triathlons in one year, Desena created Spartan Race, perhaps the most grueling of the mainstream obstacle race series. More than 350,000 people will run a Spartan Race of various lengths in 2012, including a course at Fenway Park in November.
Those outside triathlon would never guess that the sport’s most lucrative race ($1.1 million prize purse) takes place in Des Moines, Iowa, attracting a deep roster of professionals. That’s due to the sponsorship of Hy-Vee, a 235-store chain of grocery stores in the Midwest. Edeker, a 30-year Hy-Vee veteran, took over as chairman and CEO of the grocer in June.