Mizuno Sponsors Megan Hepp and Antonio Vega, from release, commentary by Larry Eder

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I missed both of these releases in the past month, as I was working on our business plans for 2009, sorry about that!

What I like about Mizuno's Ron Wayne, a huge supporter of the sport, and one of the best US marathoners in the 1970s, is that he gets it. Ron is one of Mizuno's longest employees in the US. He is their promotions guy, and he has done promo on volleyball and running for years.

Mizuno is picking up athletes for four years, giving athletes with modest but promising pedigrees to develop over the next quadrenium. Kudos to Mizuno for taking their sponsor dollars to give young American athletes time to develop.

Sponsorship is such that the more sports marketing spending brands spend the big bucks and focus on top athletes.

Brooks took the risk a few years ago and has sponsored the Hanson Brooks Distance Project, and Saucony has sponsored a group of young Americans who they hope develop into Olympic hopefuls.

Mizuno has taken their own unique view to sponsorship and their athletes, giving thse athetes the equipment and apparel that they need to train. That is a difficult cost for post collegiate athletes who are searching for a job where they can train.

The juggling job, training and work is intense, especially in the sub elite category. Those athletes who are emerging, who can not find any help, have the hardest time.
It is nice to see another company in the footwear firmament putting back into our sport.

The truth is, footwear companies do the majority of sponsorship of our sport of athletics, and especially in regards to athletes and coaches.

MIZUNO INKS OLYMPIC HOPEFUL MEGAN HEPP TO 4-YEAR DEAL

2008 Outer Banks Marathon Champion Joins Mizuno Race Team

Norcross, GA (November 19, 2008)
- Mizuno USA, Inc. has announced today the company has signed a four-year endorsement deal with runner Megan Hepp. Hepp’s partnership with Mizuno will help the company build upon its leadership position in the running category. Mizuno has a complete line of high performance running and track & field footwear and apparel.

Hepp, born in Milton, Vermont, ran in college for the University of New Hampshire Wildcats, where she was a four-time America East champion. She won outdoor titles in the 10,000 meters and 3,000 meters steeplechase and indoor titles in the 5,000 and 3,000 meters. In 2005, she was a provisional qualifier for the NCAA championships in the 10,000 meters.

“Megan Hepp is a very talented young runner with tremendous potential,” said Ron Wayne, Running Promotions Manager Mizuno USA. “She has the goal of making the United States Olympic Team in 2012 and Mizuno will help her realize this dream by providing her with award winning footwear and apparel.”

Hepp finished 12th in the 2008 USA Olympic Marathon Trials in Boston on April 20th, where she ran her best marathon time of 2:37.29. Hepp recently won the 2008 Outer Banks Marathon with a finish time of 2:49.27, more than seven minutes ahead of the second place finisher.

MIZUNO SIGNS ENDORSEMENT DEAL WITH RUNNER ANTONIO VEGA

Top American Finisher at Peachtree Road Race Joins Mizuno Race Team

Norcross, GA (December 16, 2008
) - Mizuno USA, Inc. has announced today the company has signed a two-year endorsement deal with runner Antonio Vega. Vega’s partnership agreement with Mizuno comes on the heels of an endorsement deal with fellow Olympic hopeful, Megan Hepp. Both athletes will help the company build upon its leadership position in the specialty running category. Mizuno has a complete line of high performance running and track & field footwear and apparel.

Vega, born in Oakdale, Minnesota, ran in college for the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers, where he was an All-American in cross country and competed in three NCAA Cross Country Championships. Vega was the 2005 Midwest Regional cross country champion, and was later recognized as the Midwest Runner of the Year in 2006. Vega joined Team USA Minnesota in August of 2007, a non-profit training center in Minneapolis/St. Paul, a team dedicated to improving post-collegiate American distance running and developing Olympic athletes.

“Antonio Vega is an extremely gifted young runner with a bright career in front of him,” said Ron Wayne, Running Promotions Manager Mizuno USA. “He is hopeful of competing for the United States in the 2012 London Olympics, and we believe that Mizuno can help him attain this goal with our award winning footwear and apparel.”

In 2008, Vega set a personal best in the 10,000m, running an impressive 29:00.47. At the Peachtree Road Race 10K in Atlanta, Georgia, the largest road race in the United States, Vega was the first American finisher, at 29:41. He ran 1:04:26 at the 2008 NYC Half Marathon, finishing 11th overall and second for American runners.

Mizuno USA, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Mizuno Corporation, one of the largest specialty sporting goods manufacturers in the world. Mizuno USA, Inc. manufacturers and distributes baseball, golf, softball, running, track & field, and volleyball equipment, apparel, and footwear for North America. Mizuno USA, Inc. is based in Norcross, Georgia.

For more on our sport, please click www.american-trackandfield.com

A very Happy Hannukah, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from www.runblogrun.com!

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