The USA Track & Field (USATF) Mountain Ultra Running Council has selected Teva as its Contributor of the Year for 2002. Nominees for the award included UltraRunning magazine, Montrail and Trail Runner magazine. In 2002, Teva entered into a three-year agreement as title sponsor and official footwear of the U.S. national mountain running team. This year's team also included a junior squad made possible through Teva's financial support. Both teams (men and women, boys and girls) competed at the World Mountain Running championships this September in Austria. Next year's championship is slated for Girdwood, Alaska.
SNEWS View: Teva's financial support for this program is to be commended. Without it, the Junior Team (the first real opportunity to begin developing the sport in the United States) would likely not have been able to compete. Of course, actually developing a trail-running shoe the team can wear would be good, too. This year's team was presented with footwear that even Teva admitted was good for the photo-shoot, not designed for actual running (reminiscent of Hi-Tec's early venture into adventure racing as the title sponsor of the first Eco-Challenge. Its footwear was, err, not ready for prime time then either). Teva insiders tell SNEWS that the company hopes to have a serious trail running shoe to market by late 2003. Talk about going after a niche market thoughâ€¦and one already owned by Montrail with strong supporters like The North Face and adidas bringing up the rear. Despite huge odds against, Teva does have an outside shot of being successful IF the company can do what Hi-Tec did with adventure racing. Hi-Tec became the title sponsor of its own mini-adventure racing series with broad mainstream appeal -- far greater than the Eco-Challenge could ever have offered. Teva probably needs to do the same (or something similar) in addition to their support of the national team if the company wishes to run with the big boys.