SBJ/Aug. 19-25, 2013/People and Pop Culture

Tracey Russell, CEO, Asics L.A. Marathon

Russell stays in the running with move to Asics L.A. Marathon

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Helping others have the opportunity to stay active and fit has been a focus for Tracey Russell throughout her career. She started as a swim coach and has worked her way up to chief executive officer for the Asics L.A. Marathon, after stops in Richmond, Va., and Atlanta. She spoke to staff writer Stephanie Brown about her latest assignment.

Age: 42
New title: Chief executive officer, Asics L.A. Marathon
Previous title: Executive director, Atlanta Track Club
First job: Delivering the afternoon newspaper in Cleveland
Education: Undergraduate from the University of Virginia in psychology, 1992
Resides: Los Angeles
Grew up: Suburbs of Cleveland
Brand most admired: Apple
Favorite vacation spot: Bali, Indonesia
Last book read: “The Favored Daughter,” by Fawzia Koofi
Last movie seen: “Life of Pi”
Favorite movie: Too many to choose from
Favorite musician/band: Coldplay

What will be the biggest challenge in your new position?
Prioritizing all the great ideas and opportunities for what we can do to take the Asics L.A. Marathon to the next level and understanding which are short-term versus long-term opportunities in planning.

What is the biggest risk you’ve taken in your career?
It’s something I’ve done twice, which is leave an organization and community I absolutely love to try something new with another organization. I left Richmond for the Atlanta Track Club, and now I’m leaving Atlanta for the Asics L.A. Marathon.

What is your biggest professional disappointment?
I’m more of a glass three-quarters-full-type person, so I don’t know that I have a biggest professional disappointment.

What is your biggest professional accomplishment?
How much we have increased the impact the organization has had on the Atlanta community. The Atlanta Track Club is now in a position to be that catalyst to help people who want to become healthy and fit.

What career advice do you have for people wanting into the sports industry?
Be willing to walk through whatever doors may open knowing that it might not be your ideal long-term job. Networking and the people you meet can help you get to that next right job if you are willing to go through that door.

What is one story you are continuing to watch in the sports world today?
The abuse of performance-enhancing drugs and how it’s changing the sports landscape. People are becoming numb to it and the underlying factor of the simplicity that you are cheating.

What is the one element you would like to see changed about the sports industry?
Circling back to the use of performance-enhancing drugs, just continuing to be proactive on the testing side and to compete clean and fairly.

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