Stop John Paul Lacroix from Harassing & Bullying

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The purpose of this document is to state our position as members of a vibrant running community who feel that the spirit of the community is being threatened. Individually, we have kept quiet for many years about this situation, but due to recent events we feel that we can no longer remain silent. In the statement below, we present our position: that John Paul Lacroix is a threat to the well-being of our community of trail runners.

We, the undersigned, are united against harassment and bullying by John Paul Lacroix (owner of Human Potential Running Series/HPRS). In our experience, Mr. Lacroix does not exercise or embody the qualities of sportsmanship and camaraderie one expects in the running community, especially among trail runners. More than simply a clash of personalities or miscommunication, Mr. Lacroix has carried out campaigns of harassment (online and offline), sexual harassment, alienation, and public condemnations of character. These campaigns—largely on social media, but also more directly or personally—are frequently not founded in truth.

Many of us who have signed this document have undergone Mr. Lacroix’s harassment for years or witnessed his abusive behavior toward others. Many of us were afraid to speak out against him because we have seen how any small critique of Mr. Lacroix or his events unleashes a public stream of vitriol against us. He will go to great lengths to scour the internet for negative comments and then track down the author before harassing him/her over social media or through private messages. Many of us have run Mr. Lacroix’s races and have seen mistreatment of fellow athletes as well as volunteers. Many of us have ceased running in his events because of Mr. Lacroix’s abuse. Yet we feel that simply abstaining from these events no longer suffices and we needed to add our voices to our otherwise silent protest.

It should be noted that apart from attacks on other race directors or organizations (for example, the Leadville Trail Series and the Ouray 50/100), nearly every time Mr. Lacroix publicly condemns someone with his aggressive contempt, it is a woman. We do not believe this is a coincidence. As we, the undersigned, began to discuss our issues with Mr. Lacroix amongst ourselves, we found a common thread of sexist bullying, demeaning women in various ways. Mr. Lacroix might express in open forums his admiration for female runners and his goals of making our sport more inclusive, but his actions and private comments are anything but supportive of women. Some of us actually feel unsafe because we run on trails where Mr. Lacroix is known to run and run in events that he may attend.

At this point we would like to simply note that his abuse falls within the following general categories:

-Personal harassment online and in person: abusive language, derogatory language, threatening statements, insults, intimidating language, attempts at personal humiliation and ostracizing behaviors, etc.

-Psychological harassment: gaslighting, challenging and disputing claims made by targets of abuse, attempts to have the target ostracised from social and running groups, spreading rumors about the target which are meant to discredit them in some way.

-Sexual harassment: inappropriate sexual comments; making repeated, unwanted, and inappropriate sexual advances; when the advances are declined, Mr. Lacroix turns to verbal abuse.

-Physical harassment: threatening body language, using threats to harm himself as manipulation.

-Retaliation: filing complaints after a target has filed a complaint about him, threats of legal action.

No doubt many people have had positive experiences with John Paul Lacroix and HPRS, yet many more have had the opposite. We have witnessed or experienced interactions with Mr. Lacroix that were humiliating, demeaning, intimidating, and alarming. We believe that these behaviors, if they continue to be tolerated, will affect the future of our trail running community. By signing this statement, you are supporting the spirit of the trail- and ultra-running community by listening to and supporting one another. You may have experienced the same inappropriate and bullying behavior directly or indirectly, or maybe not at all, but by signing this you affirm that you believe those of us who have endured abuse and you are willing to stand up for our community.

All who have signed this are committed to promoting a safe and positive running community. Patronizing HPRS is incompatible with that until the behavior by its owner reaches a level of civility and respect for his fellow runners. Our hope is that Mr. Lacroix will make positive changes that will be reflected not only in his words but in his long-term actions.

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