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25 March 2019, 10am

AIMS seeking to empower women around the world through the sport of running

Founding members of AIMS Women’s Commission confirmed

The Association of International Marathons and Distance Races (AIMS) is proud to confirm the founding members of the ‘AIMS Women’s Commission’, a world women’s running movement which was launched by AIMS Vice President Martha Morales and President Paco Borao on 8 March 2019 in Nagoya, Japan to coincide with International Women’s Day and the AIMS Member and the world’s largest marathon for women (22,000 runners), the Nagoya Women’s Marathon (Sunday 10 March 2019).

On Sunday 10 March 2019, the AIMS Women’s Commission presented Commonwealth Games Gold Medallist, Namibia’s Helalia Johannes with the first ‘AIMS Inspirational Woman Award’ after her victory in the Nagoya Women’s Marathon.

The founding members of the ‘AIMS Women’s Commission’ bring decades of experience in the sport of running and in working to promote female participation and empowerment around the world.

The Commission is led by AIMS Vice President Martha Morales.

The founding members of the ‘AIMS Women’s Commission’ are:

Martha Morales – AIMS Vice President, a position she was elected to in 2010 at the 18th World Congress of AIMS. Martha has been in charge of developing AIMS Children’s Series bringing sport and promoting health to young people in challenging circumstances around the world. Martha is a race official for the BMW Tangamanga International Marathon in Mexico. She is also an active marathon runner and lawyer.

Paco Borao – AIMS President. Paco was elected President at the 18th World Congress of AIMS. Paco Borao is President of Correcaminos de Valencia, which organises the Marathon and Half Marathon in Valencia. A race, under Paco’s guidance, that has created history by staging several world record performances. Under Paco’s leadership, AIMS has seen substantial membership growth and is now the largest and most diverse marathon and distance race organisation in the world covering 460 races in 115 counties and territories.

Dagmawit Amare – Strategic & Innovations Manager, Great Ethiopian Run. Dagmawit has worked with the Great Ethiopian Run for 15 years, staging more than 130 mass participation races throughout Ethiopia including the ‘Women First 5k’, one of the largest women-only races in the world with 13,000 participants in 2019. Damatwit has pioneered utilising women’s running to raise important social matters for women in Africa.

Inna Chernoblavskaya – Head of International Department, Moscow Marathon. Inna has engaged with government agencies, the Russian Olympic Committee, the Russian Athletic Federation and national anti-doping agency RUSADA to develop athletics in Russia. She has managed the reception of the Marathon Flame in Omsk in 2010 and the AIMS Board meeting in Moscow during the 2013 World Championships in Athletics.

Stacey Conley – Athlete, Advocate, Past-President, Conley Sports Productions. As President of Conley Sports Productions, she was the Assistant Race Director of the Austin Marathon & Half Marathon (USA) for nearly 20 years. Stacey’s work as an advocate for women’s participation in the Austin Marathon and related events has seen an increase of 55% in women’s participation.

Renna Nelis – AIMS PR Manager for Estonia & General Manager & Competitions Organiser, Tallinn Marathon. Renna has worked with the Tallinn Marathon since 2000. Renna has worked with a women-only event in Tallinn which attracts 15,000 runners – more than 2% of the national female population. Renna is recognised and highly regarded as a pioneer for women’s athletics in Northern Europe.

Tetsuya ‘Teddy’ Okamura – AIMS Board Member. Teddy was elected to the AIMS Board at the 22nd World Congress of AIMS in 2018. Teddy is Race Director of the Nagoya Women’s Marathon in Japan, the largest women’s marathon in the world. He is Sporting Event Producer with Chunichi Shimbun Co., Ltd one of the world’s most prominent media companies. Teddy lectures in Sociology, Mass Communication, Environmental Studies and Tourism. Teddy is also AIMS Continental PR Manager for Asia.

Alessandra Ramella Pairin – AIMS Continental PR Manager for Europe. Alessandra brings years of experience in working in communication and global sports. As well as athletics where she is a prominent and highly respected person, she has worked in Alpine Ski World Championships and World Cups, Winter Olympics (Turin, 2006). In Athletics, she has worked in the organization of some of the most important running events in Italy both in private clubs (Turin Marathon 2001-2015) and with the Italian Athletics Federation. Alessandra also pioneered event media coverage utilising drone technology in Italian sport.

Maria Polyzou – Legendary athlete, author and speaker. Maria was the first female Greek runner to compete in an Olympic Marathon, in Atlanta (1996). She was the Greek champion for 20 consecutive years and remains to date the Greek record holder with a time of 2:33.40. In 2010, to celebrate 2,500 years since the Battle of Marathon, Maria became the first woman in history to complete the ‘Pheidippides Feat’ by running the 520km from Athens to Sparta and back to Marathon over six days. She is the author of the “Spirit and Body: The Timeline of a Feat of 524 km” and has delivered dozens of lectures on the values of sport and of the Marathon.

Václav Skřivánek – AIMS Board Member. Václav is the Race Director of RunCzech Running League events (7 IAAF Road Race Gold Labels) including the Volkswagen Prague Marathon in Czechia. Václav is highly qualified in academic and practical spheres of information science.

Shirley Yang – AIMS PR Manager for China. Shirley has taken on the role of developing social activities for the Chinese Athletic Association (CAA). She was responsible for organising and marketing of the Marathon movement in China which has seen phenomenal growth: In 2011 there were 22 Marathon races in China. This reached 328 in 2016, 1,102 in 2017 (an increase of over 335% year on year), and 1,581 in 2018, 70 times the amount in 2011. Over 5.8 million runners competed in these events in 2018. Shirley is also the member of Beijing Marathon organising committee (11 years holding an IAAF Road Race Gold Label), which has the longest history of the marathon in China.

The AIMS Women’s Commission has been created in support of goal 5 in the United Nation’s 2030 Agenda of Sustainable Development: “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.”

The AIMS Women’s Commission has been founded with the following objectives:

  • To give women the biggest health platform through the sport of running
  • To empower women through the sport of running
  • To improve women’s participation in distance running events throughout the world
  • To create the largest women´s world running movement
  • To be the primary source of information about distance running for women
  • To link female runners all around the world
  • To create & action women’s social projects

For more information about the United Nation’s 2030 Agenda of Sustainable Development visit


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