Mary Wittenberg is the President and Chief Executive Officer of New York Road Runners.
As leader of the organization, she oversees the ING New York City Marathon and several other races, events, and programs that draw over 300,000 yearly participants and an organization that has an impact on running both nationally and internationally.
Under her leadership, she was the driving force in creating the World Marathon Majors along with the race directors of Boston, London, Berlin, and Chicago, organizing the first annual National Running Day, and expanding NYRR’s commitment to youth running through their Foundation.
Also under her tenure, the field for the New York City Marathon has grown by nearly 30 percent, to 47,500 from 37,000, and is now the largest in the world.
A runner herself, Mary won the 1987 Marine Corps Marathon and qualified for the 1988 Women’s Olympic Marathon trials before becoming the first female race director of a major international marathon in 2005.
In this episode, Mary and I chat about:
- How a dare during a happy hour led her to discover the joy of running and a fulfilling career
- Her belief in how having other primary pursuits can lead to success in your own running
- What she attributes most to her Marine Corps Marathon win and making the Olympic Trials
- What distinguishes New York from the other World Marathon Majors
- Insight to how she managed and lead through the challenges of the 2012 cancellation following Hurricane Sandy
- Her thoughts on support for the marathon just one year after receiving hostility from New Yorkers
- Her thoughts as a race director on what American elite athletes need to do win again
- What our expectations should be for elite athletes in an increasingly competitive global field
- Her thoughts on New York being perhaps even more difficult than Boston to get into
- How race directors can keep major city marathoning open to runners of all ability levels in a time of unprecedented demand
- What lies ahead for her leadership of the NYRR and the marathon
I share a strategy to keep you from needing to use the bathroom during your next race.