PUMA SPONSORSHIP AWAITS RACE WINNER AT MT. SAC RELAYS
By David Monti
(c) 2009 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved
The 51st Mt. SAC Relays, which open at Mt. San Antonio College in
Walnut, Calif., tomorrow, will take on the air of a reality TV show
this year thanks to an innovative promotion by Puma, the official
footwear and apparel sponsor of the meet.
The winner of Friday night's invitational Puma Mile, also known as the
"Unattached Mile", will receive a one-year Puma sponsorship, including
$3000 in Puma gear and $3000 in travel expenses. It's "American Idol"
for middle distance runners.
"Puma's sponsorship of the Mt. SAC Relays gives us the opportunity to
give young elite runners a true brand experience," said Tara McRae,
Director of Sports Marketing for Puma North America, in an e-mail
message. "As part of our ongoing efforts to support young runners, the
Puma Mile is a new concept that gives runners a chance to be sponsored
by Puma. We felt this was a unique way to help inspire young runners,
and support the young running community."
Puma's offer of a sponsorship is particularly timely, as athlete
sponsorships have been severely cut this year. This is partly a
cyclical effect --typical after an Olympic Games-- but also driven by
difficult economic conditions in the United States. Dozens of track
and field athletes, especially distance runners, saw their sponsorships
reduced or ended this year.
At the recent U.S. Indoor Championships, the top-2 finishers in the
men's 3000m, David Torrence and Brandon Bethke, ran without
sponsorship. Torrence has since been picked up by Puma, the company
said. (Editor's note: David Torrence has emailed us saying this is false).