RRCA Mission

Founded in 1958, the RRCA is the oldest and largest distance running organization in the United States with over 2,200 running club and event members representing over 250,000 individual runners active in their running communities. 

The mission of the RRCA is to promote the development and growth of running clubs, running events, and supporting the common interests of recreational runners throughout the country at all stages in life. 

The RRCA provides a national infrastructure for the development of elite and recreational adult and youth running clubs and events that have boomed into a robust sporting activity. The RRCA actively promotes running as a healthy lifestyle and positive social activity and strives to provide quality programming that can be replicated throughout the country, such as our highly successful Start a Running Club program has been the cornerstone of our organization for over fifty years.   Several elite training programs listed on this site are RRCA member clubs and receive benefits and services as a result.


Historical Background

  • 1958, the RRCA was founded with a few founding member clubs including the New York Road Runners.  Only a handful of road races were held nationwide.  The athletes that founded the RRCA felt that the AAU was not interested in serving distance running athletes by putting on events for them.
  • 1958, first RRCA Championship events were awarded.
  • 1963, the RRCA ignored the AAU age requirements for racing, ignored the AAU medical requirements and did not set air temperature limits for RRCA member races.
  • 1964, RRCA began certifying course accurately measured, and awarded certificates for time on the certified courses. (The USATF certifies courses today, though the original process was developed and implemented by the RRCA.)
  • 1965, the RRCA held the first National Women’s Cross Country Championship at the extended distance of 2.5 mile distance, despite significant objection by the AAU.
  • 1970, the RRCA hosted the first ever women’s marathon championship event on October 25, 1970 despite the fact that women were not allowed to run marathons by the AAU.
  • 1978, RRCA President, Jeff Darman helped lobby Congress for the passage of the Amateur Sports Act of 1978. The Act changed the nature of amateur sports in the US and essentially broke the AAU. This ended the virtual monopoly that the AAU had on Olympic sports governance in this country. The result of the breakup of the AAU was the formation of “The Athletics Congress/USA” (TAC).
  • 1980, the RRCA launches the Women’s Distance Festival in protest to emphasize the fact that women were not included in distance events in the 1980 Olympics in Moscow.
  • 1996, the RRCA launched the Roads Scholar program to provide more money to emerging elite athletes due to a lack of funding for US distance athletes at the time.  This RRCA has raised over $410,000 for the program since its inception.
  • 2013, the RRCA takes over RunPro.com and RunPro Camp developed by Team USA Minnesota and incorporates them into RRCA program efforts.