Tuesday, February 3, 2009


*The New Year has been good in many ways but one of the biggest surprises was the new sponsorship Marian and I was able to land with TEAM STRANDS. Team Strands is a group of runners that is being sponsored by Strands.Com a website that will hit the mainstream public within the next month or so. I have slowly been sending out early invites to around 15-20 people before hand as the website wants a small little community of people right now to play around with the site so they can see what problems need to be fixed. The site is a place to store all your running or workout type details and a way to connect with other people around the country that workout or run. Honestly the site is still very new to me so I'm still learning all about it, but so far I would say it looks pretty cool and is roughly like a facebook but with a running twist to it. I think the site has HUGE potential over the next few years to really become big!

*The team manager/runner is Matt Downin who was a multiple time All-American at Wisconsin and has many post-collegiate honors including the top American finisher at the 2005 New York City Marathon finishing in a time of 2:14.28! If you click on the Team Strands Banner on the right side of my blog or on the TEAM STRANDS above you can see the entire team. As you will see it is a loaded team, many GREAT runners including 2 Olympians and I believe Micheal Aish (New Zealand) is on board now which would make a third Olympian. So we feel very honored to being getting this opportunity to prove ourselves as runners now that we have the resources to get to the major races and along the way we want to help promote and build Strands.com as much as we possibly can! Already the support has been a huge help as I was able to travel to Austin Half Marathon only because of this support and was able to hit a PR 1:07.48. I can't say enough of about how great and nice of a guy Matt Downin has already been to Marian and me. He has made a call about a coaching position this past fall for Marian, he was one of the first to call me to congratulate me after the Austin Half, and he keeps asking and asking us what else do we need right now.

*There is so many benefits that come from our sponsorship. I will try to list some of the things that are on the top of my head without going to look through all of Matt's emails with details:

-Huge Travel Budget this is the biggest thing to us. I have been very fit many times and had no way to get to a big race to see where my fitness was at, now this won't be a problem.
-Extra Trips If they ask us to come to a race or event it is entirely covered through Strands without tapping into our travel budget. Example Peachtree 10K this summer and Eugene Marathon weekend this spring or Hoad to Coast relay next fall.
-Expo's We will help out at expos at races like Peachtree or Eugene along with getting to race. To me this is going to be so much fun to not only race these events but to help out a little with things at the expo!
-Contacts The Austin trip I only had to get reimbursement from my travel budget on flight/food. With the contact of being on this team the Austin race committee picked up my hotel/entry/shuttle expenses.
-Bonuses The bonus setup is crazy. There is so many races that if we go and run in the Top 10 we get very good bonus money. Some of the races that pay the most bonus money is obviously the big time races which top 10 would be out of the question for Marian/me but there is many other races where finishing top 10 overall or top 5 USA is possible. There is also a 2,000 bonus for running under 2:19 Men or 2:47 Women in the Marathon. There is bonus money for winning a Strands sponsored event like Eugene Half or Full Marathon or any Rock N Roll Marathon series of events. An example of a bonus I could have just recently won, the Rock'n'Roll Half Marathon Phoenix was won in 1:08's based off my 1:07s at Austin I would have been in for a $500 bonus if I would have ran that time at the Phoenix race a week earlier.
-Free Gear The teams shoe/gear sponsor is going to be PUMA, Matt has already got shoes in the mail and has told us all that all we need to do is ask for a pair of shoes and he will send out two pair! Our first gear shipment is coming the middle of this month and it is Puma gear without Strands Logo on it, then by the end of the month the second shipment will come of Puma gear with Strands Logo on it. Matt says many times in emails for us to just ask for anything and he will get it and send it.
-Garmin This week we got a email that if we wanted to have a Garmin to let him know and he will send us one to use to update training onto the Strands website. We only asked for one(Marian and me to share) he says he plans to send us both our own!
-Website Bonus Each runner on the team receives milestone bonus money if the Strands website reaches 1 million users and so on. The benchmark that this can be done is that facebook has 90million users. Also we receive bonus money if we our the first on the team to reach different numbers of followers this year. The big one is a nice bonus to the top 3 runners to get to 1,000 followers on the website.
-3 years agreement This isn't set in stone yet but the contract looks to be at least a 3 year agreement. Hopefully at that point the site will be so big that the agreement is carried on for many more years and I run fast enough to warrant a monthly salary(that's my goal)!

*As you can tell I'm very excited and thankful to God for this opportunity. My one thing I have always struggled with was being able to make it out of the state of WV to race when I know to reach my goals I need to be doing that. Along the way I will be in some races that I will get dropped at and humbled with but that's what every runner needs to continue to stay motivated to reach their best. I hope if it's in God's plan I will run some big breakthrough PR's during this 3 years and continue to just plan love running!

(Pictures of "some" of the gear from the 2+ years with Strands)

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