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Volume 21 No. 2
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Game Changers: Ann Wells Crandall

Running is more than a business for Crandall, for whom
staying healthy and active is a priority.
Ann Wells Crandall
New York Road Runners
EVP, Business Development and Strategy

The ING New York City Marathon has long been a premier event in the world of distance running, but Ann Wells Crandall has turned the race into a global marketing platform for major brands. Crandall is executive vice president of business development and strategy for the New York Road Runners, which organizes the event. She came to the organization in 2001 after stints with the NBA, DirecTV and Time magazine. During her tenure, she’s brought on blue-chip partners such as Nissan and Subway as well as international brands and tourism boards to help expand the race’s footprint abroad. Sponsor activation dollars for the event have tripled in the last five years. She’s also helped the race grow from being a one-day occasion to a yearlong property, with special events built around race registration, training and the New York Road Runners’ 54 other races during the year. “Selling vertical events as single events was not going to last forever; it was not going to help us grow,” Crandall said. “Now, there are so many different opportunities for racers and partners to get involved, when you add it up, it’s an expansive engagement platform.”

— Fred Dreier
  • Person who had the biggest influence on your career in sports: My father, Jack Crandall. He was the business manager for the Elmira Red Sox baseball farm team, a diehard New York Giants and New York Knicks fan who tirelessly watched hours of tennis, golf, NBA basketball and football with me.
  • Woman in sports business you’d most like to meet: Jeanie Buss. Her passion and hard work in a men’s world and as a leader in the NBA inspires me.
  • The biggest challenge I face working in the sports business is …: My height. (Crandall is 5 feet 2 inches.)
  • Ten years from now, I hope to be …: Semi-retired, but running my own business, which includes strength training/Pilates and nutrition education by day, Spanish wine bar by night.


“Ann is focused and passionate and is willing to think outside the box to the benefit of her partners.”

  • Jamie Robinson, managing director, Alliance Marketing Partners, which oversees activation for NYRR partner Dunkin’ Donuts