Balega Presents Tenth Annual Ubuntu Award to St. Louis Based, Big River Running Company


Durham, N.C. (Dec. 14, 2015)- Balega, a leading performance sock brand in the run and outdoor specialty markets, presents the annual Ubuntu Award to Big River Running of St. Louis, Missouri. This locally owned running and walking specialty store was given Balega’s community service award for their thoughtful actions and long lasting effects on the lives of the people in their community. The Ubuntu Award was presented to Matt and Katie Helbig at the 2015 Running Event; a running industry tradeshow held in Austin, TX during the first week of December.

Balega has presented the Ubuntu Award annually for the past ten years to running specialty stores that excel in community service and involvement. Ubuntu originated in Africa and roughly translates to mean “human kindness.” The term, popularized by Nelson Mandela, translates to mean, “I am a person through other people,” meaning only by banding together as a community and working together can we truly call ourselves human. 

“It is clear that Matt and everyone at Big River Running puts community at the forefront of their day-to-day work and overall company mission,” said Tanya Pictor, Vice President of Marketing at Balega. “We are proud to honor them with this award for their clear passion in the run industry and dedication to their local community.”

With community at its core, Big River Running Company has been operating as an independently owned business since 2006. They are proud members of the Independent Running Retailers Association and Independent We Stand organizations. Big River Running invites people of all ages, backgrounds, speeds, experiences and physical abilities to live healthy lifestyles. The company encourages those who have never put on a pair of running shoes to try something new and are working to create a community devoted to physical fitness, making St. Louis a better and healthier place to live.

“One of our customers said it best: Of course people were running in St. Louis before Big River opened. But when Big River began to offer more community runs and educational programs, what changed was that people found a home for themselves where they could set goals and find support no matter how long they had been running or how fast they could go,” said Matt Helbig, CEO of Big River Running.

Big River encourages those who run marathons to mentor those who are trying their first races. The company hires staff and recruits volunteers who care passionately about the physical health and wellness of the St. Louis community. 

With locations in West County, South City, O’Fallon and University City, Big River Running has been acknowledged as one of the nation’s top 50 running specialty stores, every year since it’s opening in 2006.

About Balega International

A leading performance sock brand in the run specialty market, Balega is a designer and manufacturer of technical performance socks and part of the Implus family of brands. With a proud American-South African initiative, the company develops its product in both South Africa and North Carolina production facilities utilizing the best performance yarns produced in the United States. Crafted for a superior fit and unmatched comfort, Balega is committed to the technical excellence, quality, and performance expected in the Balega brand. For more information visit

About Implus

Headquartered in North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park, Implus LLC has evolved to become an innovative provider of footwear, outdoor and fitness accessories to its retail partners. Implus’ family of brands includes Sof Sole, Yaktrax, apara, Airplus, Sneaker Balls, Sof Comfort, Little Hotties, Perfect, TriggerPoint, ICETrekkers, FuelBelt, Harbinger and Balega. From insoles, socks and shoe care to seasonal accessories and fitness solutions, Implus proudly distributes its brands to thousands of retail locations across the United States and worldwide. For more information, visit