As you’re putting together your 2014 race schedule, don’t forget to check out Running in the USA for information about upcoming races in all 50 states. This locally produced national resource is managed by Bill and Mary Flaws and got its start right here in MKE.
Read on to learn more about why the couple decided to start the popular website and how it’s grown over the years!
For people who are unfamiliar with Running in the USA, can you talk a bit about what the site is and what it offers?
Running in the USA is an online directory of races, results, clubs, photos and forums. The website was created and is maintained by Mary and Bill Flaws of Waukesha. The site is free for anyone to access and use. Our goal is to list every running-related race in the USA. We want to make it easy for our visitors to find race information, past results, race photos, and to connect with other runners through running clubs or running forums. The site currently has links to more than 44,000 races.
What types of things can people find on the website?
Primarily, people can find an easy way to find a race in the United States. The site has links to running-related races, results, clubs and photos as well as multiple running-related forums. There is a neat 50 Stater’s Gadget that helps find ‘Marathons in Nearby States on Consecutive Days’ for those pursuing a marathon in all 50 states. We have also setup some special pages that we call Mapshots, which are pages displaying a map with markers for specific types of races such as marathons, half marathons, 10Ks and triathlons, as well as specific “themed” races such Fourth of July, St. Patrick’s Day, Valentine’s Day and Thanksgiving Day related races. The site also has a Resources section with information for Runners (Beginning Runners, Racing FAQ, How Race Scoring Works) and Race Directors (Submitting and Promoting Your Race, Race Website Tips, Organizing A Race).
It’s likely a lot of people will be surprised to learn a national running resource is operated right here in MKE. How did you get the idea to start Running in the USA?
Mary started running in 1999 and didn’t like the online race calendars provided by larger publications and local running clubs spread across the country. So, she started developing her own personal database of races she was interested in and then launched a website with that database on the Web in 2002.
Can you tell us a bit about the site’s history?
Running in the USA started as 2 websites. Running in the USA was started in the fall of 2002 by Don Drewniak and was primarily a directory of race results. Run This Planet was started in the fall of 2002 by Mary and Bill and was primarily a directory of races and running clubs.
In the spring of 2003, Don contacted Mary and Bill and proposed a merger. Don continued to help with results for another couple years before ‘retiring’ from the running website realm. The site has gone through a few redesigns since 2003 – one in 2006 and another in 2008, which is basically what is seen today. Mary and Bill along with their adult son (Danny) manage/maintain the full site to this day.
How do you find the information that is listed for each state?
Lots of the initial races that started our database were added by us – big, well-known races, as well as the well-known, local Milwaukee-area races – and by us just scouring the internet, looking at race club websites and race management/timing company websites. Now, because of the longevity of our site and by word of mouth, many newer races are submitted to us to review and add/update on our site. We send out emails to the race contacts to let them know about the race information presented on our site for their event and we also ask for the new date or to submit updates as needed. We personally review every submission that comes into our site before it appears publicly. Because we do it this way, there is no need for any usernames or passwords. So anyone can submit to us.
We literally check hundreds of links every week, (sometimes hundreds in a day), looking for new races, updated races and race results.
How is Running in the USA active in the MKE running community?
Mary runs many of the MKE area races. Bill takes photos at many MKE races. Starting as a hobby to document some of Mary’s races, Bill took photos of her in races. He then started taking photos of others as well as the race itself. We started posting these photos on our home page to help draw interest in the site. It is still a hobby to Bill and he tries his best to get a photo of everyone – not just the speedsters at the front of the race! You’ll see Bill at races around the MKE and the southeastern WI area (usually behind a big white lens) snapping away.
Running in the USA is a sponsor for some local races. We also provides 60 dozen cookies in the shapes of the United States and running shoes for the Icebreaker Marathon Weekend in January at the Pettit.
What are your goals for Running in the USA?
We are always looking for new ways to make finding races easier for our visitors. We have some ideas for a few new features; we just need the time to implement them.
Several of our features have come from visitors to our site. It’s great when someone sends us a suggestion that we can implement right away and then respond to them with “Great idea, thanks… here it is.”
So, if any Keep Running MKE readers have been to our site and thought “It was be really great if it did this…” send us an email, and we’ll see if we can do it.
Thanks for chatting with us Bill and Mary! If you’d like to learn more about Running in the USA, here’s how you can connect:
Keep Running MKE – you’re doing great!