Industry leader, Vasque footwear, expanded its international influence by sponsoring what is considered the biggest, longest, toughest and yet most popular endurance race in Japan - the Hasegawa Tsuneo Cup Mountain Endurance Race. This race is a 71.5-kilometer mountain trail course with over 15,000 feet of altitude gain on varied and extreme terrain. A & F Corp, the Vasque distributor in Japan, also sponsored the event.
Running in general has been on the rise in Japan, as the number of events and runners has grown exponentially over the last few years. Tapping into to this valuable opportunity, Vasque has focused its marketing efforts on sponsorship and promotions of trail events directly linked with retailers. This strategy to further drive international exposure is proving to be a success.
â€œTrail and mountain running is growing in Japan from an already healthy base,â€ notes George Brown, Vasque's Pacific Rim & Latin American sales & marketing manager. â€œWe have found that event marketing and sponsorship in this area supports our brand positioning in an impactful way. Japanese runners like the Blur or shoes made on the Blur last, like the Mercury. I estimate that about 15% of runners in this race were in Vasque trail running shoes, which is very good.â€
To compliment the brand further at this race, Vasque runner, Chiharu Watanabe, placed 1st in the 40 year old age bracket with a time of 8:19: 26. In addition, two U.S. Vasque team members made the globe-crossing trip to participate in the race. Senior product manager, Brian Hall and sales representative, Dan Dehlin caught the attention of Japanese press prior to the event not necessarily for their athletic ability, but for their strategy. Unheard of to the Japanese racers, Hall and Dehlin tackled this endurance challenge by consuming peanut butter sandwiches
for sustained energy.
The Hasegawa Cup sponsorship is part of Vasque's ongoing market strategy in Pacific Rim countries. In addition to this race, Vasque was title sponsor with W.L. Gore & Associates in the following races in 2008: the China Trail Tour in Kunming, China, the China Trail Tour in Hangzhou, and the China Trail Tour in Shenzhen.
The Hasegawa Cup is held in Okutama, Tokyo. More information is available at www.hasetsune.com.
Vasque is also on the brink of launching the third year of its domestic event marketing initiative â€“ the Vasque North American Trail Tour. The race series continues to expand brand exposure on a national level. For more information about Vasque products and event sponsorships, please visit www.vasque.com.
As a company that designs footwear to fit the specific needs of its customers, Vasque has a team of accomplished athletes that report straight from the mountains and trails. This hands-on relationship ensures that Vasque shoes perform in real conditions time after time. Based in Red Wing Minnesota, the Vasque commitment to developing products inspired by those who wear them has naturally created forty plus years worth of long-term brand loyalty. The current product line includes award-winning trail running, multisport, hiking, backpacking, and mountaineering collections. For more information about Vasque's products and retailers, visit www.vasque.com