A Northeast Ohio Trail Running series

Our Background

Northeast Ohio harbors some of the country's most beautiful trails and also hosts runners with big hearts who care about their community. Five race directors with a similar vision have come together to form a partnership to provide non-profit first rate low cost or free trail racing experiences, while organizing efforts giving back to our communities in need.  

Mission Statement

Running Forward and Giving Back is a non-profit 501c3 organization consisting of eight NE Ohio  trail races which share a mission to support runners, our precious parks, and local individuals or small organizations who require a helping hand. 

Our Philosophy

Run hard

Be thankful 

Give more than you take

Our Race Directors

Roy Heger

Local ultra marathon legend of over seventy 100 mile finishes, Roy Heger understands runners and what makes them tick. He is the Race Director for Buzzard Day, Run with Scissors and co-Race Director of Canal Corridor. Roy is the founder of Run to Share, a non profit organization that helps local people in need. Roy never quits and his mantra is "relentless forward progress".

Bill Wagner

Ultra marathoner for 20 years and Western States finisher, Wild Bill is known by nearly every trail runner in NE Ohio. He is the Race Director of Candy Mountain and in 2018 will put forth the 10th year of Bill's Bad Ass 50k. Through his races thousands of dollars have been raised from runners for local small organizations in great need. Wild Bill is also the co-Race Director of Canal Corridor. His mantra is "adapt and overcome".

Rich Schlenk

Race director Rich Schlenk is leading the Doan Creek Trail Race into its fourth year. In 2017 this free race raised over 7 thousand dollars for Edwins Restaurant Institute and the Doan Watershed, while organizing environmental clean up efforts to improve the Doan Creek trails. Rich has run in over 30 ultra marathons. His favorite saying is "Go big or go home".

Jennifer Douglas


New to Ultrarunning, Jennifer held the inaugural Regal Beagle Ultra in the Bath Nature Preserve in December of 2017 and is hosting the inaugural Crowell Hilaki Trail Run in 2018. Her races have raised contributions to local park systems primarily. Jennifer is active in local community groups that serve to promote healthy lifestyles as well as bettering the community for all to enjoy. A second race, the Regal Beagle Spring Run was added to raise more donation dollars. Her mantra is “do whatever it takes”.

Matt Force

After running his first 5k in 2013, Matt quickly made the transition from road to trail. He found the challenge of trail running quite appealing. Matt ran his first 50k and first 50 mile in 2016. In 2018 Matt finished his first 100 mile race and is eager for another. Matt has a penchant for designing fun courses and is the co-race director for Crowell Hilaka Trail Run.  His mantra: Would you even bother to do it if it were easy?

Connie Gardner

Co-Race Director of the Regal Beagle, Connie Gardner is a local running legend and has won 11 USATF national championships. Connie finished first at Burning River 100 Mile Trail Race (2008, 2009, 2011, 2012), Mohican 100 Mile Trail Race (2001, 2007, 2008, 2012, 2016), NorthCoast 24-Hour Endurance Run (2010, 2011), Tussey Mountainback 50 Miler (2011), and the JFK 50 Miler (2002, 2004, 2008).  She won our inaugural Canal Corridor 100 (2017).  Connie absolutely needs no mantra. 

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