Saturday, October 8, 2011

Next stop... New Balance nirvana!

My friend Paul sent me a link to Barefoot Running University ( Jason Robillard, the founder and director just wrote a piece on getting sponsored. I was beside myself! Finally, some tips to take me to the next level. Jason is someone who knows what he is talking about. He got himself a sweet gig being a reviewer and spokesperson (of sorts) for Merrell's road/trail glove line. He has even written a book about barefoot running. It's safe to say that Jason has had some advantages over me. He has been in the space for much longer, he has rugged good looks and he is a solid runner. I am not knocking him. Jason seems like a really great guy that I'd love to meet. His Facebook profile pic is awesome. Man! I have a lot of work to do in order to make myself appealing to New Balance!
Jason Robillard's Facebook Picture
The Merrell Trail Glove

It’s worth checking out Jason's Facebook page. He has pictures with some running legends. I also like his quote: “I don’t run to stay in shape. I stay in shape so that I can run”. Jason, I don’t know you but I like you.

Jason Robillard (Right) with ultra marathoner Scott Jurek (of Born to Run fame)
Jason's article started well enough. “Getting paid to run…isn’t that the American Dream?” YES JASON. IT IS! I’m not American but, I live in America, my family is American and I dream in American! Then, it’s like Jason is speaking to me personally. “Many runners yearn for the utopia of sponsorships, yet have no real idea how to do it”. THAT’S ME JASE! Then, he starts to disappoint me. He says that companies go for individuals who represent them to the target market. The examples he gives are elite athletes, models, grizzly outdoors folk and “edgy” athletes. SHIT! FAIL! Then, just as I am staggering from that blow, Jason throws me a bone. He says that you have to build an audience and a quick way to do it is blogging. DING DING DING! But, then he takes me down with a leather glove to the face with “If you have a blog that attracts less than 100 hits per day, don’t expect companies to offer you loads of cash”. Thanks for putting a number on my failure Jason. I have about 5 readers right now and one is my sister! The comments section doesn’t exactly build my confidence either. L3vi piles on the pressure with “too many people looking to turn their life into a running dream. You really have to offer something UNIQUE”. Then, he tags-in some fellow named Rob who comments about his experience of sponsorship and being forced to do events he didn’t want to do.

The article was a rollercoaster of emotions for me. I was looking for a silver bullet and what Jason is suggesting is some good old fashion effort. Come on! Hard work is so 2010! The purpose of this blog was to have New Balance come to me. I haven’t decided how long I am prepared to wait before I change tactics. But, if I do change, I will certainly follow Jason’s advice. It’s clear that I would need to do a few things:
  • Actually have people follow this blog. I’ve started telling people about it. That’s a start!
  • Pitch a unique idea that is compelling enough to excuse the fact that I am not the type of person New Balance actually wants to sponsor. That's a biggy.
  • Think about doing it in stages. It never occurred to me that I could start with a discount, work up to free product, graduate to race expenses and then go for gold. Until now, I was all set on dodging the foreplay and getting straight down to it with New Balance on the first date.
You can read Jason’s tips (without my annoying commentary) here:

If you are interested in running barefoot, Jason is the author of the Barefoot Running Book.

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