AIMS Women’s Commission marks first anniversary by awarding two-time Olympic gold medallist Meseret Defar with the AIMS Inspirational Woman Award

The Association of International Marathons and Distance Races (AIMS) is delighted to mark the first anniversary of the ‘AIMS Women’s Commission’ on International Women’s Day, March 8, 2020 by announcing Meseret Defar (Ethiopia) as the recipient of the AIMS Inspirational Woman Award for 2020.

Meserat is a two-time Olympic gold medallist in the 5,000m (2004 & 2012) as well as being a two-time World Champion (2007 & 2013). Meseret will receive her award at the pre-race press conference on Friday 13 March, in advance of a race that is proud to have Meseret as Ambassador, the ‘Women First’ 5km, a race in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia).

The first recipient of the AIMS Inspirational Woman Award was Namibia’s Commonwealth Games Marathon gold medallist Helalia Johannes who received the award after winning the 2019 Nagoya Women’s Marathon, the world’s largest women’s marathon: (20,000 women: recognised by Guinness World Records).

The Commission was launched in 2019 by AIMS Vice President Martha Morales (photo) and President Paco Borao (photo) and aims to develop the participation of women in distance running throughout the world, while empowering women through the sport of running.
To mark the first anniversary, the AIMS Women’s Commission is delighted to announce:

  • A special new section of the AIMS website dedicated to the AIMS Women’s Commission under the slogan ‘All Women Can Run’ which will host all the latest developments and announcements from the AIMS Women’s Commission. This new section of the AIMS website will launch on International Women’s Day (8 March 2020) and can be found at

AIMS Vice President Martha Morales comments: “It has been a very exciting first year of the AIMS Women’s Commission. We are very pleased to mark International Women’s Day by announcing our new website and most importantly, the deserving recipient of the AIMS Inspirational Woman Award for 2020. The inspirational double gold medal winning Meseret Defar who is a great symbol of the success of women in athletics. A role model, not just for women in Africa, but around the world.”

AIMS President Paco Borao comments: “AIMS is proud to have founded this movement which, under the direction of Martha Morales has brought together a very impressive group of leaders of women in sport. This commission is working to ensure the share of voice for women in sport is growing larger and will echo around the world, encouraging all women to run, developing their health and well-being.”

About the AIMS Women’s Commission
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 was founded in 2019 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 project

The members of the ‘AIMS Women’s Commission' are (click each name to download an image provided free of copyright):

Martha MoralesAIMS 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 BoraoAIMS 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 & Competitons 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.

Paz Beccar Varela - Paz is from Argentina where she is a TV producer for the Pegsa Group, she is a runner, specialist in Marketing and Communications from different sports brands, she is the producer of ESPN RUN Latinoamerica, she has been involved on the production and transmission of the Maraton Internacional de Mar de Plata (2016-2017) and Maraton de Buenos Aires (2018-2019) in Argentina.

About AIMS
AIMS is a member based organisation and since being established in 1982 has grown to a membership of more than 470 of the world’s leading distance races, from 125 countries and territories. AIMS Members come from every continent on the planet and include the ‘Athens Marathon. The Authentic’ formed on the legend of Pheidippides, the Greek soldier-runner who ran from the town of Marathon to Athens in 490 BC to announce the Persians had been defeated in the ‘Battle of Marathon’. Other AIMS members include many of the world’s greatest distance races in history such as the Beijing, Berlin, Boston, Chicago, Comrades, New York, Paris & Tokyo Marathons. The three key objectives of AIMS are:

  1. To foster and promote distance running throughout the world
  2. To work with World Athletics (WA) on all matters relating to international road races.
  3. To exchange information, knowledge and expertise among members of the association.