With warm weather finally on the horizon, thousands of Chicagoans have flocked to the lakeshore to burn off their winter weight and train for the 50+ upcoming races that will be held in Chicago this summer.
You can expect to see Courtney Gray, Co-Founder of 1871 member company A Good Sport and five-time Chicago Marathon finisher, running with her dog as she trains for the many races she has registered for this summer. Along with her Co-Founder Ruth Clark, Gray started A Good Sport in 2012 after she identified a need for runners to easily find opportunities to fundraise for charities. Using their technical backgrounds (Gray as a tech consultant and Clark as an executive in the Tribune technology department) and skills Gray developed as a Starter League student, Clark and Gray launched their website, which offers users options to search for races based on location, distance, date, and charity beneficiaries.
Clark said that their user base has grown considerably since they launched in 2013, especially as the number of Americans participating in races continues to climb. According to Gray, the number of race participants in the US has more than doubled since 2005 to over 15,000,000 runners, with women now making up the majority of race participants.
When the Chicago Marathon announced a new lottery system for the 2014 Marathon, with guaranteed entries for those fundraising for charities, Gray said that she and Clark realized an opportunity to expand their services to work more directly with philanthropic organizations. In addition to creating a comprehensive and up-to-date list of Chicago Marathon affiliated charities, A Good Sport has consulted with over 90 of the charities on how they can improve their fundraising, marketing strategies, and communication with their runners.
Looking toward the future, Clark and Gray hope to continue expanding their database of races to locations across the country, and their consulting services to more charities and race directors. Said Gray, “We hope we can help make races fun and add meaning for runners.”
Learn more about A Good Sport here.