September 16, 2011, Charlottesville, VAâ€” With so much choice in today's market for running apparel and gear, the runner can pick and choose among top brands and hardly make a bad purchase. But if innovation, commitment to specialty running, and green manufacturing rank as important factors, then there are companies that quickly rise to the top. Injinji, Greenlayer Sports and Amphipod are three such companies.
As professional endurance athletes, UROC race directors, and running retailers J. Russell Gill and Francesca Conte know these companies very well: "We've been sponsored by Injinji as athletes for years and we maintain a full stock of toesocks in our store. We really enjoy being able to supply experienced runners with a product they've long relied on and introduce novice runners to the toesock experience. Injinji was our first stop when seeking a UROC sock sponsor."
Injinji marketing director Deidre Mahoney didn't hesitate when she got their call. "We are honored to be a part of this exciting inaugural event that showcases the Best of the Best in ultra distance running. Injinji, through its core product and ambassador program has long been supportive of this ever growing and exciting sport. We immediately teamed with the Ultra Race of Champions to show our corporate allegiance and commitment to the growth of ultra-distance running."
The same instinctive process came into play when UROC race directors wanted a hydration pack sponsor and chose Amphipod. "We wanted to support s vendor" said Francesca Conte "and work with a company with whom we already had a strong business relationship. In addition, we use and enjoy the product ourselves." Trail Runner's associate publisher gets this logic. "When Francesca told me she had booked Amphipod for UROC and that all runners were getting a 20 ounce handheld, I was psyched" comments Cynthia Bruggeman. "They sponsor the Trail Runner Trophy Series as well; it's been great to see so many Trail Runner magazine partners step up to support UROC and align with what is truly a championship race."
June Angus of Amphipod expresses her enthusiams for UROC by saying: "These inspiring athletes fuel our continued passion to push the envelope of innovation in ultra-lightweight, minimalist, fully-customizable and ergonomic product design. Amphipod is proud to support, with specialty-only distribution, the amazing local specialty running stores nationwide and their experienced staff that are responsible for such a positive impact on the lives and well being of so many runners â€“ from elite to recreational."
One such experienced staffer that looms large on the UROC scene is former Notre Dame football player and Charlottesville Running Store manager Marty Roddy. At 6' 8" and 310 pounds, he's no stranger to competitive sports and has been the backbone of Bad to the Bone Endurance Sports race management. "It's my job" says Roddy "to source the very best products for the store and meet the needs of our active, environmentally conscious clientele. Being so close to the University of Virginia main campus and The Historic Downtown Mall in Charlottesville, we see a range of customers, from fit 20-somethings to equally fit silver-haired department chairs. Not to mention the urban crowd. Can you say hippie and yuppie in the same breath?"
Greenlayer Sports co-founder and marketing ace Kim Bilancio can. She travels all over the planet, attending races, expos, and festivals and has met every kind of runner imaginable. And is happy to tell the green tale behind Greenlayer's start-up and impressive growth. That was how she met the UROC race directors in Vail, CO this summer. Bilancio recaps: "By partnering with Francesca and Gil, we met a pair of runners who were truly authentic in the sport as top tier ultra runners themselves. Their passion for the sport carries over to the races they own and manage. The championship style race format of UROC will offer the excitement of some of the best ultra runners in the country, while the diverse distances will help provide an opportunity for all levels participation: these two aspects combined are essential to grow the sport.â€
Francesca Conte agrees. And is ecstatic about having Greenlayer as the "official race day t-shirtâ€ for not only UROC, but same day sister races Ãœber Rock 50K and Cruxy Half Marathon. "The quality of the shirts, combined with our great design, look absolutely amazing. Runners will sport them at other races and back in their hometowns for years to come."
The Trail Runner Ultra Race of Champions (UROC) will take place on September 24th, 2011 at the Wintergreen Resort in Virginia and boasts a $10,000 prize purse. It will host some of the most talented ultra runners in the world. For more info on this world class ultra championship race go to www.ultraroc.com
InjinjiÂ® is the innovator of the patented five-toe-sleeve Performance Toesockâ„¢ for sport, outdoor and casual use. Injinji (In-gin-ji), which means to reach one's peak performance, is dedicated to helping athletes attain their personal best by offering a seamless, anti-friction interface that allows the foot to perform naturally from the heel to the five toes. A recipient of the American Podiatric Medical Association's Seal of Acceptance, Injinji's Performance Series is recognized for its ability to provide superior moisture management and healthy digital alignment. www.injinji.com
About Amphipod, Inc.
Based in Seattle, Amphipod specializes in minimalist ergonomic hydration, race and training gear engineered specifically for runners. www.amphipod.com
Greenlayer Sports, a performance apparel company based in Portland, OR, is the first running apparel brand to offer a high performance apparel line where 100% of the products are made from environmentally conscious materials. Greenlayer is committed to providing athletes of all levels with environmentally responsible products that do not sacrifice performance, style comfort, or value. The Greenlayer technology brings a luxuriously soft hand feel to its performance materials, along with durability, style, and a bold, impactful range of color options. The race inspired product line of over 40 styles are perfect for endurance athletes, whether it be running, gym training, or outdoor pursuits. www.greenlayer.com
About Trail Runner magazine
As the leading publication for one of North America's fastest growing sports, Trail Runner features in-depth editorial and compelling photography that informs, entertains and inspires readers of all ages and abilities to enjoy the outdoors and improve their health and fitness through trail running. www.trailrunnmag.com
About Bad to the Bone Endurance Sports
By directing premiere trail- and road-running events in the Shenandoah Mountains of Virginia, Bad to the Bone Endurance Sports strives to motivate runners of all backgrounds to challenge themselves. For almost 10 years, Bad to the Bone Endurance Sports events have reflected owners Gill and Francesca's decades-long knowledge and passion for running. www.badtothebone.biz