2008 Ultrarunning Teams and Sponsors – Individual Sponsorships

This is the third post in the iRunFar series on ultrarunning sponsorship in 2008. This post focuses on sponsorship of individual ultrarunners – both elite and not – rather than teams. The two previous focused on largest nation-wide ultrarunning teams and smaller or regional ultrarunning teams. Come back next week for the series’ final post discussing the role of sponsorship in the sport. (Please hold off on discussing this subject until next week!)

For now, you can read more about sponsorships by nuun, Moeben, Salomon, Brooks and more after the break.

This post is by no means meant to be exhaustive. Far too many ultrarunners receive support from individual sponsors for me to research even a fraction of them. Please feel free to note companies that support ultrarunners in the comments. [If you note a sponsor, I will add them at the bottom of this post.] Also, a line was drawn between team and individual sponsorship. It was a subjective decision made based on many factors and is in no way meant to lessen the role of any of the sponsors or teams named in this series. As always, feel free to provide additions of corrections in the comments. In addition, you can now provide such information anonymously via the contact page. Moving on…

nuun first became visible as an ultrarunner sponsor when it became a complimentary sponsor for the Montrail-Nathan team in 2007. Now in 2008, nuun has risen to a new level as an individual sponsor of 10 individuals including the likes of Karl Meltzer, Brian Morrison, Ty Draney, Scott Dunlop, Lisa Smith-Batchen, and Olga Varlamova. (Roster of nuun “Top Tier” Sponsorships) In addition to these 10 runners, nuun supports a few dozen additional ultrarunners with various levels of sponsorship. (As noted in previous posts, nuun also supports the Montrail and Patagonia teams, as well as the forthcoming Wasatchspeedgoat team.)

Either late last year or early this year, Moeben began sponsoring a handful of elite ultrarunners. One the men’s side, Moeben supports veteran ultrarunners Karl Meltzer, Hal Koerner, Jorge Pacheco, and Tim Twietmeyer. Rumor is that Moeben is quite generous in its sponsorships, which is all the more noteworthy as they support youngsters Anton Kruprika, Eric Skaggs, and Kyle Skaggs. While no women are listed along with the men on the Moeben website, rumor has it that Moeben also sponsors some women. Can anyone confirm this? [4/11 Update – speedster Jenn Shelton is on the team – thanks, Sascha’s Dad] [5/1 Update Michael Wardian has gone Moeben as well.]

Salomon, which makes shoes, apparel, and gear, fields a trail running team with a couple of ultrarunners, including Mike Wedemeyer, Michelle Barton, and Glen Redpath. Salomon has its sites on adding a few particular ultrarunners. Also, a few of Salomon’s speedy trail runners might be stepping up to ultra distances in the near future.

Brooks has been sponsoring Scott Jurek for a couple of years now, but also has sponsors a number of other ultrarunners, including non-elites, through the Brooks Inspire Daily program. (Note Brian Morrison left Brooks to go run for Inov-8.)

Another big shoe/apparel company that sponsors a top-ultraunner is New Balance, which picked up Anton Krupicka earlier this year .

One interesting development is for causes to sponsor ultrarunners. For instance, as Matt Hart points out, last July the Bonneville Environmental Foundation began sponsoring Justin Angle by purchasing carbon offsets to balance Justin’s carbon footprint associated with his travel for training and races. Fittingly, Justin also runs for Patagonia team. (As an aside, when I was regularly volunteering at The Nature Conservancy during law school, I
dreamed of running in a TNC singlet.)

The following additional companies and organizations support individual ultrarunners through sponsorship. Other sponsors will be added as they are noted by commenters, so please feel free to give a shout out to your sponsors or those that sponsor other ultrarunners in the comments. (Links to information regarding applying for sponsorship are noted in the parentheses.)

Shoes: Pending.

Fuel/Nutrition: First Endurance (app), Gu (info)

Apparel: Patagonia (info); Smartwool (info)

Glasses: Pending.

Organizations: Pending.

Other: Pending.

There are 9 comments

  1. AnthonyP

    I'm not sure about "all" generalized shoe (and apparel) companies, but Brooks seems to be going a little bit beyond upper eschelon sponsorship. They have a "mini" sponsorship program (for lack of a better term) called the "Brooks Inspire Daily Program". Both myself and Meredith Murphy were accepted into the program. Participants do have to sign an agreement with Brooks, obligating them to race and train exclusively wearing Brooks running and racing shoes. In addition, members must also (a) wear Brooks apparel to races when suitable for the event, (b) promote Brooks Sports, Inc. in their local communities, at racing events, and to their friends and families, and (c) be willing to make an appearance at certain Brooks events, should the need arise and the participant's schedule is open.Here is a portion of the acceptance letter/email that I received from brooks – You have been accepted to join the Brooks Inspire Daily Program. The Brooks ID Program is a group of athletes, coaches, mentors, and anyone who inspires others to run and be active!As an ID member you are entitled to 40% off retail Brooks purchases at http://www.brooksrunning.com. You are also invited to join our exclusive ID Yahoo Group where members can chat, share training and racing tips, and access a member list with out-of-town hosting, favorite quotes, and more. We also highlight an individual member each month on our webpage! You are being offered a white level membership. We have three membership levels – blue, red, and white – and the majority of our members are at the white level. Blue and red level members receive some free product each year. You can become a red or blue member the following year by demonstrating your influence in the running community via race results, publishing, event support, or referring 5 or more friends or family who become Brooks ID Members.

  2. CharlieM

    I don't know if they still do it, and I don't know if it would be considered a "team", "small team" or "individual" (and perhaps you already mentioned it in a previous post), but Active.com has an ActiveElite program for sponsored runners/triathletes, etc.

  3. Trail Goat

    Tony,Congrats to you and Meredith on joining the Brooks I.D. programs. I've revised the post to reflect this program.Charlie,It appears that the Active Elite program is, well, still active. What I don't know is whether they specifically sponsor any ultrarunners.

  4. Grae Van Hooser

    trial goat,What is the criteria for "sponsorship"? Free gear or discounts? Some people only consider free gear, entry fees paid, or stipends as sponsorship, while discounts are often a benefit of a "Pro Purchase" type program.I guess this could in itself be a whole other debate!Anyhow, my "sponsors" are Patagonia, Smartwool, and First Endurance.

  5. Trail Goat

    Grae,You've raised what certainly could be a big debate in and of itself. Personally, I would consider each of the points you noted as sponsorships. Everything from dollars in pocket and travel expenses all the way down to pro deals. I think the only except to above would be pro deals or one off free stuff to a writer/reviewer/industry insider. I guess what it boils down to is whether a company or organization is providing something ($$, gear, or significant discounts) as part of an established relationship with an athlete. Does that makes sense? I'll note your sponsors.

  6. Anonymous

    Hi, Trail Goat, et al. Love the Blog. While I think support can certainly vary based on both individual and team packages. "Sponsorship" usually involves free gear, travel, stipends, incentive package, entry fees, etc. Pro Deal is usually available to most anyone without a "you can only use this product" type of contract. Example: I get free shoes from my local running shop, but pay "pro deal" for several products that have been made available to me through a club arrangement. I consider my only sponsor to by my local shop who provides 4 pairs of free shoes and 3 entry fees paid each year in exchange for me running in the singlet and short at local races and participating in my local grand prix. Just a thought. Is "wear tester" a sponsorship if you have to return the product but get to "lease" it out for a couple of months while you provide feedback? The debate could rage. Gary Pendry

  7. Trail Goat

    Gary,I'd agree with you about wear testing not being a sponsorship. As to other arrangements, the line is certainly a hard one to draw and one's own perspective certainly plays a part. For instance, in my own judgment, I could argue with a straight face that you have shoe sponsors if it's a few select companies that give you the pro deal, while I'd say the running company is your sole sponsor if you're getting shoes at cost or at pro rate from the store itself. Interesting semantic issue! One thing I'd note is I think pro deals are harder to get than you let on. I doubt I could go to most shoe or gear companies and get a pro deal if I asked. (Though asking for a pro deal did work for me on one occasion.) Consider yourself lucky- I know I would!Anyway, thanks for stopping by and glad you like the blog. I'd love to hear more of your insight in the future!

  8. saschasdad

    Goatboy,Jenn Shelton is sponsored by Moeben. She thinks that Michelle Barton is, too.Man, I'm playing weeks of catch-up here…

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