Flagstaff-based group features nine professional athletes and Olympic hopefuls
January 7, 2014
FLAGSTAFF, (AZ) – January 7, 2014 – Former elite athlete and run-specialty store owner Ben Rosario has announced that he and his wife Jen Rosario have launched a new professional running team in Flagstaff, Ariz. The team, called Northern Arizona Elite, features nine high-level distance runners including the husband and wife duo of Ben and Stephanie (Rothstein) Bruce, 2:13 marathoner Jordan Chipangama and World Championship half marathoner Maegan Krifchin.
Rosario has operated the team on a small scale for the last six months as Team RunFan, a branch of his online retail store; RunFanShop.com. Rosario said the early success of the group led to the expansion and re-branding of the team.
“Jen and I were having so much fun working with the athletes that we decided it was time to invest the majority of our energy and resources into that side of things,” Rosario said. “Then it was just a matter of bringing together the right mix of athletes and honestly we couldn’t have asked for a better group.”
In addition to Bruce and Chipangama the men’s roster includes Arkansas All American and SEC Champion Eric Fernandez, 1:03 half marathoner Matthew Llano and Irish international David Rooney who was seventh at the 2012 NCAA Cross Country Championships. On the women’s side, Rothstein-Bruce and Krifchin will be joined by Kellyn (Johnson) Taylor and Amy Van Alstine, who will both represent Team USA at this weekend’s BUPA Great Edinburgh Cross Country Meet.
Rosario, who serves as the team’s head coach, said the plan is to create a fan base for the group through an interactive website and the use of social media.
“I’m a fan just as much as I’m anything else and I know that what people want is access to these athletes on a daily basis,” Rosario said. “We’re going to give them that access with tons of videos, pictures, interviews and training info…much more than people have ever seen from a professional training group.”
The team will begin racing under the Northern Arizona Elite moniker this month, first with Taylor and Van Alstine in Scotland, followed by Bruce and Llano at the U.S. Half Marathon Championships at the Aramco Houston Half Marathon. At this early stage the group is privately funded, but is actively seeking long-term corporate partners.
Northern Arizona Elite is a professional sports organization whose mission is to recruit, develop and produce distance runners to compete at the very highest level of international athletics and operate as a successful business by building a global fan base for the team and its athletes through comprehensive and ongoing marketing efforts on a local, national and international level.
To learn more visit www.nazelite.com.