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The Hustle

Name: Claire Selius (Great Gay 5k)

Posted By Megan Holmes

Claire Selius spends her day-to-day in the nonprofit universe. But outside of her duties as Marketing Director of Big Brothers and Big Sisters, Selius moonlights (and weekends) in the 5k race world. Eight years ago, she and her business partner took on the monumental task of putting together three annual 5ks, one in Tampa, one in Sarasota, and one on St. Pete Beach. Collectively, they've donated more than $20,000 to local charities in the last eight years. Selius is living, breathing proof that side hustling is about more than making money - it's about making a difference, too.

Years in Tampa Bay


Hustle (job)

Race Director

What do you do?  

I am co-owner and Race Director for three 5k races in three different cities. The Great Mother's Day and Great Father's Day Races are held annually in Tampa and Sarasota, while the Great Gay 5k is held on St. Pete Beach. My role includes all graphic design assets, medal and T-shirt designs, photography, creating and managing partnerships, and a ton of other not as exciting elements like insurance, permitting, and running around town picking up and dropping off various items.

Why do you do it?

While this has always been my side hustle, I find it vital to my happiness. I am a very active person, and I know that getting and staying healthy through physical activity helps your body and mind. While we have some elite runners that come to our 5Ks, the majority of people are just getting started on their personal or family journey to being healthy. I love being a part of that. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. It's also important to give back to your community, and that's why we have donated almost $20,000 to various charities over the eight years we have been doing these races. My day job is Director of Marketing at Big Brothers Big Sisters, which is a mentoring non-profit. I think helping your community is really important. In my mind, if you're not giving back some way to those around you, what are you even doing?

What was your Catalyst? (How did you get started?)

I met my friend and business partner RJ in our USF grad school program. We decided our side hustle would help people and give back, so we created the Great Mother's Day and Great Father's Day 5K races eight years ago. Then three years ago, we decided we should start a 5K race where the LGBTQ+ community and allies could be themselves in a safe environment, while still getting exercise and having fun. It also gives us the opportunity to help LGBTQ+ charities in St. Pete!

What’s a common misconception or unknown aspect of what you do?

Most people think putting on a 5K race is just getting shirts and renting a park. When really, there are hundreds of tiny details that we have to stay on top of in order to be successful. It's kind of like being a CEO, CFO, CMO, CDO, HR, and Complaints Department all at the same company. Lots of jobs, only two employees. I usually tell people, "Putting on a bad 5K is easy, but putting together a 5K that people want to come back to year after year is a lot more challenging."

What’s the most challenging part of your Hustle?

It's hard to please everyone in this business. We have numerous people every year tell us that they would rather have this color shirt, or this medal design, etc. Of course we want everyone to be happy and have a great experience, but it is difficult when everyone has different aesthetic tastes. If we could give everyone their favorite color T-shirt, trust me, we would!

What’s the most valuable piece of business advice/insight that’s helped you?

Everyone is going to have an opinion about what you're doing and how you're doing it - business-wise and life-wise. You have to learn to sift through the negative and let the positive through. Like Andy Warhol says, "Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. And while they are deciding, make even more art."

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