David Willey is senior vice president and editor in chief of Runner’s World, overseeing all editorial operations of the brand.
Willey joined Rodale as EIC of Runner’s World in 2003 and oversaw an award-winning redesign of the magazine in 2004, recruiting a roster of new talent to broaden its audience and creative ambition. Since then, the magazine has had some of the most successful years in its 48-year history, hitting all-time highs in paid circulation (675,000 in 2014), audience (3.1 million in 2014), newsstand sales (reaching an average of 100,000 copies sold per month), international expansion (18 editions in 2014), ad pages, and overall revenues.
In 2006, Willey assumed oversight of RunnersWorld.com. Since then, traffic has climbed to over 5 million unique visitors and nearly 30 million page views per month, making it the most popular running-content site on the Web. Willey and his team have also expanded to mobile (launching the Shoe Shop and SmartCoach apps), paid content (selling branded training plans through the Runner’s World Personal Trainer, which connects to an interactive training log), and launching the award-winning Runner’s World Challenge (which offers readers a chance to train and race with the editors).
Under Willey and his team, Runner’s World has been nominated for 13 National Magazine Awards, the industry’s highest honor, including six for General Excellence (winning for General Excellence Online in 2008). Thirteen Runner’s World feature stories have been anthologized in The Best American Sports Writing, and the magazine earned a James Beard Foundation Journalism Award nomination in 2010. The magazine’s design, photography, and illustration are consistently honored by the Society of Publication Designers, Society of Illustrators, and American Illustration. In recognition of its business success and creative excellence, Runner’s World has been named to the Adweek Hot List for magazine media four times and made Advertising Age’s A-List in 2005.
While serving as general manager of Runner’s World from 2011 to 2013, Willey extended the brand into new businesses, diversifying its revenue streams. In 2012, Runner’s World entered the race business for the first time, hosting the annual Runner’s World Half Marathon & Festival in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
Runner’s World publishes several books each year and has expanded successfully into e-books and exclusive e-singles. Notable titles published during Willey’s tenure include: 14 Minutes, by Alberto Salazar and John Brant; The Long Run, by Matt Long with Charles Butler; Running & Being, by Dr. George Sheehan, a 35th Anniversary re-issue of the out-of-print bestseller; The Runner’s Rule Book, by Mark Remy; The Complete Book of Running, by Amby Burfoot; Bowerman and the Men of Oregon, by Kenny Moore; and Run Your Butt Off! by Sara Lorge Butler and Budd Coates. He also edited Going Long, an anthology of the best stories from Runner’s World.
Willey has been interviewed on every major television network, including CNN and NBC’s TODAY, and on air with NPR and Google+ Hangouts. Since 2008, he has worked as the on-course running reporter for televised broadcasts of the New York City Marathon, running alongside and interviewing athletes such as: Lance Armstrong (at six-minute pace); Lyz Glick Best, widow of Flight 93 hero Jeremy Glick; actress Pamela Anderson; and supermodel and activist Christy Turlington. He has also given speeches on running and the evolution of Runner’s World at major marathons, media-industry conferences, and alumni events.
Prior to joining Runner’s World, Willey spent more than eight years at Men’s Journal, moving up the editorial ranks to executive editor after starting as an assistant editor in 1995. He joined the board of directors of the American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME) in 2006 and later served as its president from 2008 to 2010. During his tenure as president, Willey repositioned the organization to grow and evolve digitally: ASME expanded the National Magazine Awards to honor excellence in digital media and began collaborating with Amazon in the ASME Best Cover Contest.
Willey graduated from Williams College in 1989, where he played four years of varsity football. Before that, he played for state champion East Grand Rapids High School in Michigan. He also received a master’s degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in 1993. He has run eight marathons, with a PR of 3:24, and regularly participates in half-marathons and triathlons. He also put a dent in the Green Monster at Fenway Park. He lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and three children.