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The Most Influential Runners in the World

Why this list?

There are amazing runners in the world, with extraordinary stories to tell. Some have beaten cancer, others run with only one leg, some have managed to lose an incredible amount of weight or their own world records. We’ve put together a list of many of these exceptional people and we’ve named it: “The Most Influential Runners in the World”. Maybe the title is too fancy, but we really consider these people role models that have influenced many lives, including ours.

This is not in any particular order. Some of you may appreciate some runners more than others. But we consider that all those listed here deserve our respect equally.

The world is very big and we are sure there are many more runners that should be listed here, but they aren’t yet. If you know someone that should be on this page next to our chosen influential runners, send us your recommendations. You can also support this list by publishing the badges from the sidebar on your blog/site.
Thank you for helping us make this section better! Happy Running!

Randall Wharton

Randall Wharton started running as a very unfit, overweight 39 year old in late 2012. He ran his first marathon in early 2013, immediately caught the distance running bug, and has been running them since, with ultra marathons and triathlons thrown in for good measure. His humorous blog, RandRuns, has become one of the most popular running blogs in the world. Randall was recently featured in Runner’s World Magazine.

Randall Wharton - http://www.randruns.com/

Dick and Rick Hoyt

There are little words that can explain our admiration for Team Hoyt (Dick and Rick). For more than 30 years Team Hoyt has written a piece of history. Rick was born in 1962 and due to birth complications he was diagnosed with spastic quadriplegic with cerebral palsy. His father, Dick and mother, Judy were determined to raise Rick as part of a community, include him in sports, education and a workplace. They certainly succeeded, especially with sports. Dick and Rick completed their first 5 mile race in 1977. In 1992 they biked and ran across the U.S. completing a full 3,735 miles in 45 days. In 2009 Team Hoyt finished their official 1,000th race during the Boston Marathon. In 2010 and the years to come they will keep writing history.

Dick and Rick Hoyt - http://www.teamhoyt.com/

Terry Fox

Terry Fox was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and raised in Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, a community near Vancouver on Canada’s west coast. At 18 years old Terry was diagnosed with osteogenicsarcoma (bone cancer) and forced to have his right leg amputated 15 centimetres (six inches) above the knee in 1977. While in hospital, Terry met with other cancer patients, many of them young children. He then decided to run across Canada to raise money for cancer research.He called this journey the Marathon of Hope. He prepared for 18 months(ran over 5,000 km). His Marathon started on April 12th, 1980. On September 1st, after 143 days and 5,373 kilometres (3,339 miles),
Terry was forced to stop running outside of Thunder Bay, Ontario because cancer had appeared in his lungs. Terry passed away on June 28, 1981 at the age 22. To date, more than $400 million has been raised worldwide for cancer research in Terry’s name through the annual Terry Fox Run, held across Canada and around the world.

Terry Fox - Marathon of Hope - http://www.terryfox.org/

Kimberly Fawcett

Kim bikes and runs with a prosthetic leg, but the amazing thing is that she doesn’t believe this is a set-back, but a reason to push her limits more and more. We also admire Kim for her openess to help the others. She is the co-founder of The Canadian Forces Injured Soldier Network (CF ISN). This program is created to connect injured or ill soldiers to others in recovery so they can help and offer support to each other.

Kimberly Fawcett: http://kimfawcett.blogspot.com

Karl Meltzer

Karl is an Ultra Runner. What makes him an influencial runner is his impressive resume and his life goals. The list with his accomplishments is long, but we want to mention that he won not less than 50 ultra wins in 101 starts by October 2009. He is all time winner of Wasatch 100, Hardrock 100, San Diego 100, Squaw Peak 50, Bighorn 100, Massannutten 100 (2). He won 100 mile distance races 27 times. Karl’s goal is to reach 35, 100 mile wins. We believe he can do it 🙂

Karl Meltzer: http://karlmeltzer.com

Norma Bastidas

Norma is an amazing woman, mother and runner. On July 11 2009, Norma became the fastest female in history to run on seven separate continents in seven months (1272 kilometers). She is a mother willing to go to the end of the world and back for her son, Karl who suffers from a progressive condition with no cure, Cone Rod Dystrophy. Her next amazing quest is to conquer 7 of the most famous peakes of the world, on 7 different continents, including Everest. We support Norma and CNIB, Foundation Fighting Blindness and Operation Eyesight Universal.

Norma Bastidas: http://www.normabastidas.com

Brian "TriBoomer" Brode

We appreciate Brian for completing 4 Ironman races until now and he doesn’t stop here. We also appreciate his openness to learn his children and the other kids that sports are a big part of a person’s live. We are sure his accomplishments will be even greater in the future. Go Brian!

TriBoomer a.k.a. Brian: http://triboomer.blogspot.com/

Stephanie Arango

At only 24 Stephanie accomplished something little of us managed to do: complete 23 marathons in 21 states (if we counted right). She is determined to finish 50 marathons in 50 states (by the age of 28). From what we know about Stephanie this will definitely be a successful challenge (and she will crash any other statistics done so far). She has all our support and faith.

Stephanie Arango: http://50marathonchallenge.blogspot.com/

Helen

Helen is a wonderful woman and a very determined runner. She is a winner in life and in marathons. 11 years ago she won the battle against breast cancer. Now she is a dedicated supporter of Dana-Farber / Harvard Cancer Center. She is also part of the DFMC Pediatric Partner Program. In this program she chooses to run on behalf of children in need. Her results are amazing. Her help is very precious.

Helen: http://10yearscancerfree.blogspot.com/

Carolina John

John has been chosen to be part of the influential runners we highly appreciate because of his wonderful determination to start running and quit smoking after 15 years of addiction. In 2009 John finished an olympic distance triathlon, a marathon and a half Ironman, all these after smoking a pack a day for fifteen years. Pretty impressive!

Carolina John: http://trainingsmoker.blogspot.com/

Don

Don is a hero from our point of view. At age 68 he is an active runner and his resume is pretty impressive: twenty-fourth state, thirty-some marathons all these completed after he received a multiple myeloma diagnosis, 7 years ago. Even so, together with Sunshine, his wonderful wife, they prove they “can make every day the best day of the year”.

Don: http://minnesotadon.blogspot.com/

Marathon Mummies

Marathon Mummies must be on the list of influential runners. They represent the best model for women around the globe, who struggle daily to keep up with motherhood responsibility, but at the same they try not to forget about themselves. To all the marathon mommies we send our congratulations for their effort and wonderful results.

Marathon Mummies: http://marathonmommies.blogspot.com/

Tony Mangan

Tony Mangan is an Ultra Runner all the world must have heard about. If not we assure you it’s a must to find out who he is and why he is a worldwide known influential runner. In 2007 Tony received the IAU (International Association of Ultrarunners) recogition for “the new World Best Performance 48h indoor by Men” for his extraordinary race, 426,178 km ran during the Jami BRNO Spring Ultramarathon, 48h Indoor. He is also known for his 48h treadmill records. Tony’s 48 hour treadmill attempt record was registered in 2003. His performance was broken in 2004 by another runner but Tony regained his status in 2008 when he ran the “greatest distance travelled on a treadmill in 48 hours, 405.22 km (251.79 miles)”, result acknowledged by the Guinness World Records. His two world 48 hour records still stand. Since then he has run 50,000 kilometres (31,000 miles) around the world starting at the Dublin marathon which is his city marathon in 2010 and finishing with the same marathon in 2014. In all he ran across 41 countries and 5 continents, averaging 43.3 km per road day.

Tony Mangan: http://www.theworldjog.com/

William Sichel

William is an Ultra Runner with an impressive resume. His running history started in 1972 and since then he has continuously dedicated himself to this sport. In 1997 he beat cancer, a never easy battle. As he confirms on his blog this battle was much more easy because of his great fitness level and commitment to a healthy life. William is and will always be an influential runner.

William Sichel: http://www.williamsichel.co.uk

Andrew Skurka


Andrew is an Ultra Runner. His biography is impressive and the places he has traveled to may be only a dream for some. Besides his running history we want to nominate Andrew as an influential runner for his 2010 project: “The Great Alaskan-Yukon Loop”. This route is 4,500-mile long, around the state of Alaska and the Canadian territory of Yukon. His plan includes a quest never even attempted until now. We’ll follow Andrew as he writes some piece of history.

Andrew Skurka: http://www.andrewskurka.com/

Tricia Minnick

On January 5, 2009 Tricia made a decision that would change her life. She decided to take care of herself and think more about her health.
On that day she weighed 278 pounds. Today she weighs 159. No fad diets, no pills, no aid from surgery. Her success is the result of pure determination, sports and healthy nutrition. Running has been one of the main factors that helped Tricia lose weight, be healthy and have a positive attitude all the way. She started with walking 2 miles a day. In 2010 her goal is to run 1,000 plus miles. Very impressive!

Tricia - http://www.enduranceisntonlyphysical.blogspot.com/

Katye McNulty

Katye has battled eating disorders for years and and thus had a very unhealthy relationship with exercise. In the past few years she’s taken her life back and become healthy and in return, has become an active member of Team In Training through Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. She started training and fundraising for her first race back in August and since then has completed her first half marathon, raised $19,000 for cancer research and is currently training/fundraising for two more races with TNT! She was chosen to act as a mentor for the San Diego Marathon (which will be her first marathon!). She has also signed on with Ulman Cancer Fund’s Team Fight for the Baltimore Marathon. This girl is on fire and refuses to stop until she does everything she can to stop cancer in it.

Katye McNulty - http://runninaround.wordpress.com/

Robin

What happens when an over-40 diabetic decides to take up running? She becomes a symbol of ‘nothing is impossible’. This is Robin, an impressive woman and runner. Today we want to thank her for being a strong person, who isn’t willing to give in, and for writing a story that inspires us. And we thank Amanda for sending us this special nomination.
Robin – http://www.runningcirclesaroundtheturtles.com

Moire O'Sullivan

This is a nomination received from Pete Power: “In July 2008, Moire O’Sullivan, an Irish mountain runner, made a solo attempt on the Wicklow Round, a gruelling endurance run spanning a hundred kilometres over twenty six of Ireland’s remotest mountain peaks. After twenty one and a half hours I watched her collapse, two summits from the end. Battered and bruised yet undeterred, she returned a year later to
become the first person ever to complete the Round in less than twenty four hours. Though her primary love is mountain running, she now runs and writes around the world, everywhere from Congo to Singapore, from Viet Nam to Kenya. Her blog chronicles her current adventures and makes for a compelling, inspiring read.”

Moire O'Sullivan - http://moireosullivan.wordpress.com

Melanie (Mel) at Tall Mom on the Run

Mel’s nomination was received a few days ago, from Erica H. The email brought us a lot of joy as we ourselves are big fans of Mel. Here are Erica’s words when describing Mel: “She uses her blog to motivate and inspire others by making it a point to encourage and uplift.” We agree and this is why Mel is a Most Influential Runner, a runner who determines other people to keep running and enjoy it at max.

Melanie (Mel) at Tall Mom on the Run - http://www.tallmomontherun.com

Cindy

This message is from Christy, Cindy’s twin sister: “I would like to nominate my twin sister Cindy. She ran through her entire pregnancy back in 2007 and proved that not only is it ok to continue running during pregnancy, she developed a maternity fitness line along the way. Several years ago, it was almost unheard of to continue training and running during pregnancy. After extensive research and discussions with physicians, etc. Cindy emberked on a healthy running pregnancy and blogged about it along the way. We get so many thank you emails, inquiries and comments from ladies who were inspired to continue running or start running for themselves and their babies. They thank Cindy for posting the photos, running videos, etc. and sharing her
pregnancy running experience (even her labor video has been shared) in hopes of inspiring other women to continue running and fitness during pregnancy.” We found that many powerful women have followed Cindy’s example to run during pregnancy if their baby health allowed it. She is a truly inspirational runner example for all of us.

Cindy- runningskirts.blogspot.com

Laura

Erin came to us with a recommendation for Laura about whom she says the following: “Laura is a marathon maniac that is currently 2 states away from being the youngest female to finish a marathon in all 50
states!!”

Editor’s note: Laura is a very ambitious runner. She decided to break the current age record (28 years) and be the first marathoner to finish this quest by 24 years and 10 months. On June 6th 2010 she
arrives to the finish line. Her story must be read as it includes great advice for those who go for the same goal.

Laura- http://absolutlyfit.blogspot.com/

Singapore Blade Runner(Md Shariff Abdullah) and The 1 Arm Runner(Adam Bin Kamis)

Here is what Haffiz sent to us when nominating these special runners: “I am a local runner blogger from Singapore, I review running events and running gears. Through running I’ve meet some great friends among
the Disability community, Competing in races and inspiring others to run and compete to reach their goals. Singapore Blade Runner and The 1 Arm are only 2 of these influential runners. These people really
concentrate on what they can do rather than what they can’t. They are truthfully inspirational.”
Editor’s note: There are many other people who suffered amputees and with the aid of prosthetic limbs they reach performance. We will only mention few of the runners we know such as Nathan Smids, Richard
Blalock, Oscar Pistorius, Richard Whitehead. With such examples you can never give up, no matter what.
Singapore Blade Runner, http://www.singaporebladerunner.com

The 1 Arm Runner, http://1armrunner.blogspot.com/

Trace Sherer

Eric Barna sent us this nomination for Trace Sherer. Trace is indeed an amazing person. This is what Eric wrote: “Trace is 47 years old and has MS which was diagnosed 10 or so years ago. Last year he was walking with the aid of a cane and this year he is training for his first ever triathlon. He has almost 40 people dedicated to running this triathlon with him and helping him train.” If you follow his blog you will see how many people he has helped so far by just being a positive example.

Trace Sherer, http://tracesherer.blogspot.com/

Dave McGillivray

Susan Hurley sent this nomination which we highly appreciate as an influential runner: “Dave McGillivray is one of the most influential runners not only because he has done so many incredible feats like running across the USA 2 times and running up the east coast and spearheading triathlons in New England and Swimming, Biking and Running for 24 hours straight and running his age every birthday etc…. and the list grows but he has raised millions of dollars for various charities and is the premier race director and founder of races all over the world. Dave has been honored by Runner’s World Magazine and is a leader amongst the leaders in the running industry. He remains humble – kind and dedicated to running and is truly one of the most influential runners! Dave even runs the Boston Marathon after he directs it every year – he is always the last to finish after starting the race.”
Dave McGillivray, http://www.dmsesports.com/daves-athletic-achievements

Beth Risdon

We’ve been following Beth’s runner carreer for a few months. She is an amazing woman, trully inspiring. This nomination was sent by Ken,Beth’s husband:”I would like to nominate my wife, Beth Risdon. Beth started seriously running at the age of 41 when she trained for and completed her first marathon. She started blogging about her love of running in January of 2009. Since then, I think she has helped inspire many people to start running or take on running goals once thought unachievable. Her blog is titled Shut Up and Run because as she puts it we need to “Stop making excuses for your life not being what you want it to be and get out there.” I will confirm that she does take her own advice.

Beth Risdon, http://twentysixpointtwoormore.blogspot.com/

Tom Denniss

Tom Denniss is running 700 marathons in 700 days, and he’s taking his quest very seriously because he aims to claim the Guinness world record for the fastest circumnavigation of the Earth on foot. His inspiration: Forest Gump. His efforts: raise global charity for Oxfam. His journey is already in the second year and it will soon reach the end. We admire his efforts and we appreciate his ideals. An inspiration for all those who love running.
Tom Denniss, http://www.tomsnextstep.com

Do you know someone who deserves to be on this list? Use the contact form on the sidebar and let us know. Thank you!