Tag: Competitor Group Inc.


One year ago the big story in the sport was Competitor Group Inc.’s decision to significantly cut its elite athlete program just weeks before the Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon. Ex-CGI CEO Scott Dickey wrote in this blog at that time: “We will always welcome the elites, we are just not going to spend in excess of 7-figures annually to simply have them show up. It represents a disconnect from the brand and the very promise of participating in a RnR event. We’re going to reinvest those dollars into entertainment, the experience, more staff to execute more flawlessly, and in our continued efforts to increase participation.”

A major backlash arose in the wake of that decision, and by year’s end Mr. Dickey had left Competitor Group while former golf executive David Abales quietly took the reins in early 2014.  Now, in the fall of 2014 CGI has not only reversed its direction of a year ago, it has ramped up its overall support for the professional end of the game significantly, returning it to the ranks of major players in the game. (more…)



David Abeles, new CGI CEO
David Abeles, new CGI CEO

SAN DIEGO, Calif. — Competitor Group, Inc. (CGI), the San Diego based company that owns and operates 53 events around the world, including its flagship Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series, today announced that its board of directors has named David Abeles as Chief Executive Officer.

For the past several months CGI chairman Paul Walsh has been serving as interim CEO after Scott Dickey and Steve Gintowt left the company as CEO and CFO in December 2013. The change in leadership followed a strong industry reaction against CGI’s precipitous reduction in its elite athlete program just two weeks prior to the Rock `n` Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon last September after appearance agreements had been made by CGI’s elite athlete coordinator Matt Turnbull.  Later, following Dickey and Gintowt’s departure,CGI reversed course, and in January reconstituted its commitment to elite competition.

Now, 42 year-old David Abeles joins the firm, bringing 20 years of executive experience in the sports industry to CGI. He was most recently the Executive Vice President and General Manager at TaylorMade-Adidas Golf Company, where over the past six years he led the commercial operations of a $1.8 billion global equipment and apparel division. Prior to TaylorMade, Abeles served as Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Cobra Golf.  I spoke with Abeles by telephone today from his office at CGI headquarters in San Diego.

So why CGI? Why you?  Why now? (more…)


Reaction to San Diego-based Competitor Group’s recent decision to abruptly cancel its U.S. elite athlete program continues to heat up.  First, a scathing article in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Competitor Group Cuts Elite Support for Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon. Then yesterday Boulder Running Company cancelled last night’s Rock `n` Roll registration portion of its weekly community fun run after store co-founder Mark Plaatjes was alerted to the extent of the CGI decision by Boulder Wave running agent Brendan Reilly. (more…)


TC_MASTER_CMYK_FULLCOLOR     First, let me apologize for the continuing rants about the state of the sport.  But when you’ve put in 30+ years, and see a lessening of interest in the very thing you’ve spend a lifetime trying to build, it can drive you to excess in one form or another.  For sanity and health I’ve chosen to confront my demons through writing.

That said, after the initial surge of emotions that followed the Competitor Group’s elimination of its elite athlete program last week, the time for solutions should now take up the baton.  I’ve had several conversations this week along those lines, but it is to the constituent stakeholders of the sport we look first, as it is they who are best positioned to take heed of CGI’s decision and then move the sport ahead in its wake. (more…)


(Yesterday’s post generated a great deal of interest in the state of the sport given Competitor Group’s decision to end its elite athlete program as currently constituted. One of the responses to my column came from Competitor CEO Scott Dickey. I didn’t want his detailed review of the situation to be lost in the comments section, so I have placed it here as a guest blog.

I want to thank Scott for his respectful and candid remarks, and hope this back-and-forth helps shed light on both CGI’s decision, and brings those concerned about the state of running to a better understanding of what we need to do to improve that state. My response follows.) (more…)


Less than two months ago former Elite Racing TV producer Rich Jayne made a well received presentation to the Competitor Group Inc. sales staff at their Mira Mesa corporate offices.  There Jayne outlined the costs and opportunities involved in presenting six of the company’s top half-marathons on TV and the internet as a showcase for CGI’s newly designed Half Marathon Grand Prix, a two year, 30-event series for professional and age-group runners culminating in a $240,000 payout to the pros.

Then even as the sales people were out hustling the idea (to a U.S. auto manufacturer as I understood it) three days ago, Poof!, CGI’s entire North American elite athlete program was terminated with extreme prejudice, including the professional Grand Prix and the invited elite field for upcoming 36th Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon September 15th, an important final tune up for the fall major marathon season. (more…)