From the Podium to Podium: What Makes Female Runners Such Speakers

With rockstar runner Hellen Obiri’s recent victory at the 2024 Boston Marathon, it’s high time we look at the undeniable connection between what makes long-distance female runners into such outstanding keynote speakers.

First, look at Obiri’s victory: the latest cherry atop a career that includes first-place finishes in the 2023 Boston Marathon and 2023 New York Marathon, five gold medals across various world championships, and two Olympic silver medals. 

She’s sponsored by The On Athletics Club (an elite group of athletes who train full-time in Denver) and Shokz (open-ear audio for athletes); take a run at her Instagram account—nearly every post is branded, or features prominent branding in it. 

A marketer’s dream, and an event organizer’s best friend. 

This is the world of running, where individuals are revered for perseverance and for passion; where partnerships—not blockbuster contracts—are the key to financial success.

It’s a rare space where current and former athletes alike are revered for their efforts, for breaking barriers, and for authenticity. They’ve got a habit of professionalism, polished by a lifetime of dedication. 

And to a point, they’ve been in the same foxholes as their audience members: who, despite an incredible range of backgrounds and demographics, can connect across their love for the sport. 

We’ll start our deep-dive into the three elements that make runners so great for speaking engagements right here.

The Audience

Keynote speakers or fireside chats, this is the audience that craves—and most importantly, respects—the chance to connect. 

Women across the sport have been breaking boundaries and shattering records for decades, cornerstones of inspiration that reach across all facets of humanity. They’ve stood at the forefront of progress for gender equality, racial equality, LGTBQ+ rights and more—to say nothing of the world-class athletic accomplishments. 

As keynote speakers, they excel in motivating and educating the crowd; in a fireside chat, they lead with unmatched authenticity. 

The Athlete

Few athletes spend more time alone with their thoughts than long-distance runners. 

Step-by-step, day-by-day, it’s a meditative place to train. It’s a rigorous place to hone the mind—to find inner focus, eliminate distractions, to compete against yourself in a way that pushes your abilities far beyond what even you thought possible. 

The Women Leading Today’s Speaking Tours

Legends in the community, let’s take a look at four of the top female runners-turned-speakers, and what they’re focusing on today.

Desiree Linden

2018 Boston Marathon Winner

Speaker Info

Desiree Linden won the Boston Marathon in 2018, breaking a 33-year streak of men taking first on the podium. She’s since made a name for herself as a world-class partner; check out this recent series of posts she did with Poland Springs leading up to the 2024 Boston Marathon for examples.

Molly Seidel

Team USA Marathon Runner

Speaker Info

An up-and-coming star on the scene, Molly Seidel placed second in her first-ever marathon: the 2020 U.S. Marathon Trials. She’s currently working with Puma and Verde Track Club, part of the new generation of “runfluencers” on the market.

Deena Kastor

Olympic Medalist and World Record Holder

Speaker Info

Deena Kastor isn’t just an American icon who shattered every record she came across. She didn’t just win the 2005 Chicago Marathon and 2006 London Marathon. She’s also a New York Times Best-Selling Author for her book Let Your Mind Run, which details her mental approach to success.

Joan Beniot

First Women’s Olympic Marathon Gold Medalist

Speaker Info

Joan Benoit won the inaugural Olympic marathon at the 1984 games in Los Angeles, right after winning the 1983 Boston Marathon in her first-ever race. Today, she travels the circuit as an author with several best-selling books. 

Booking a Runner

Speaker Booking Agency specializes in finding you the right speaker—and we’ve had long-standing success with the running community. Click here to browse some of our available athletes, and be sure to fill out this contact form for the quickest response time from our team!