In January of this year, I stumbled on an application on a random post to become a sponsored athlete through a page that I follow, a really fantastic race reporting startup, Race Everywhere. I submitted the application, but honestly was in a state of shock when I was contacted for an interview–after all, a future former fat chick that doesn’t exactly set land speed records isn’t quite the poster child for all things sporty. But, I met with the founder of the company/site on one of my visits to Phoenix for another meeting, interviewed for one of the sponsorship spots, and got to learn more about the history behind Race Everywhere and the founder’s passion for developing it, his values, and his goals for it–and frankly, I left that meeting wanting this more than I realized I did after learning more about the whole picture, because it’s something that 1) I like, 2) I support, 3) I have a good instinct on the integrity of the company and am willing to put myself up against it. (How’s that for a run-on sentence?)
Cue the longest waiting period ever…if I wasn’t the first interview, I was one of the first. It took about six weeks to hear the decision on whether or not I had been chosen for a sponsorship spot after my interview. That was a pretty surreal moment, if just getting an interview was shocking, being told they want you puts you into a totally new league of jaw-dropping. Enter a few negotiations and decisions (discussion back and forth, lots of research to make sure I wasn’t violating any of our ministry’s policies and procedures [I’m not!], calendar play to make sure nothing conflicted with our ministry, scheduling and receiving permission for some of our personal furloughs around a few races…)
On April 28, I did the coolest thing yet…I signed my name to a sponsorship agreement contract! It even says it in black and white that I’m an athlete…who knew?! It was news to me that day!
It’s been a little slow going as things have gotten off the ground as we were hoping to launch things as a group with all the sponsored athletes together, but schedules just don’t look like they’re jiving, so we’ve been hooking up on individual conference calls this week to get started on putting much of our mutual parts into motion.
Yesterday I had a conference call with the founder and the person that will be coordinating the schedules of all of the sponsored athlete’s “stuff”…there’s a lot that’s coming up over the next year–in addition to running my October half marathon in Ventura under Race Everywhere’s name (and decked out in their gear! Can’t wait to get that soon–the first pieces should be arriving soon!), we also have interviews that will go up on the website that feature us as sponsored athletes that need to be completed, we will write some blog posts for the site, interview on some podcasts (sounds like I’ll do mine after my August race in Carmel), write a few race reports, show up on social media in a few places, and I’m probably forgetting some things too off the top of my head.
It’s all fun stuff though, because this would be things I would be doing anyway! I blog, I post on social media, I run races, I rate races–why not do it in an arena for a company that I can support? And in return, I get some amazing support too! Not only do I get race entry sponsored, there’s Race Everywhere branded gear that I was able to select for my preference, coaching (YAY!!!! And talk about a company that knows their stuff–more on Camelback Coaching soon, I’m sure!), probably some other stuff I’m forgetting too (it is almost 3 hours past my bedtime…but I took a 5 Hour Energy while driving to CA…bad move), but there’s the new camaraderie to come of a group of athletes brought together for a single purpose, and that’s pretty cool too.
For something that I submitted on a chance, assuming I wasn’t good enough to be chosen…I’m still pretty blown away that this is my reality now. This is the fun. At the end of the day, this boils down to a really amazing opportunity for me to hone in on becoming a better runner and stronger endurance athlete if I pay attention and soak it all in. I have pretty lofty goals…I’ve said it before, 100 mile ultra marathon. It’s going to happen. But I look around now too and start to wonder if there’s other goals starting to creep in too down the line. The wheels are turning, my mind is mulling over some possibilities. But for now, I’m just going to be thankful for the opportunities I have and keep going on the goals in the here and now. Quickly closing in on making a final choice for my spring marathon…my first 26.2!!!