Josh Rowe, Running Marketing Manager at New Balance, the RBR Interview, by Larry Eder

Jenny Simpson, Josh Rowe, 2010 NB Armory, 

RBR caught up with Josh Rowe, a week before his New Balance Games (January 26, 2013) and two weeks out from the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix. Josh Rowe has been a long time player in the sport. Rowe and his good friend John Truax were the spirit behind the Nike Border Clash way back in 1998-1999. 

Rowe was hand-picked by Tom Carleo, VP of Running Product at New Balance, to handle the marketing of running. Their sponsorship of Jenny Simpson resulted in Simpson's gold medal in the 1,500 meters in the 2011 World Championships. 

Recently, New Balance signed a long term deal with Disney's running events. In the last few weeks, NB signed on Kim Smith, the Kiwi marathon star. 

Here is the interview we did with Josh Rowe. Josh Rowe is proud of his brand and the efforts New Balance has made in the sport. And like most of the players in sports marketing and running product at the top level companies, he has a bit of the competitive spirit, which comes out in his comments. 

RBR, # 1. Tell us about how the Indoor started?  

Josh Rowe: I have worked with the NSAF (formerly NSSF) for the last 10 years on various projects.  When their indoor championship meet became available we, at New Balance, realized we had an opportunity to unify the two existing indoor championship meets.  A few months later, the meet we now know as the New Balance Indoor Nationals at the Armory came to life.

RBR, # 2. When you came to New Balance, you continued your relationship with NSF, and hence, the NBI, is that correct?  

Josh Rowe: Yes--that is correct.  The NSAF is the top event producer in high school athletics and I am very proud of the opportunities we have created for HS athletes over the years.


RBR, # 3. What do yo love about the NB Indoor Champs?  

Josh Rowe: I love the energy.  I love seeing athletes put their hearts on the line.  I love providing athletes a forum to showcase their talents.  There is no place better than the NB Track & Field Center at the Armory to do this.



RBR, # 4. You book end the high school seasons, why?  

Josh Rowe: Having both the indoor and outdoor national championship events creates the perfect track and field platform for New Balance.  We have a virtual conversation with these athletes from December when indoor track ramps up all the way through June when the season concludes with the outdoor championships.


RBR, # 5. What do you want athletes to come away with from your champ events?  

Josh Rowe: Quite simply, we want them to walk away saying 'that was the greatest experience they've ever had'. 



NBR, # 6. Your support of the Armory gives over 150,000 kids a real experience in our sport, comments?  

Josh Rowe: The Armory is an incredible facility.  Dr. Norb Sander and his staff have created something really special for the community and we are happy to be part of it.  There isnot a better indoor facility in the world and New Balance could not be prouder of our association with the Armory.



NBR, # 7. Give me a fave experience?  

Josh Rowe: One of my favorite experiences was watching Jenny Simpson win the 2011 World Championship 1500m.  Six months later, we brought Jenny to the NB Nationals meet at the Armory and watching the high school athlete's embrace her like she was Lada Gaga was something special.  It was great seeing how an athlete like Jenny can inspire a new generation of young stars.


NBR, # 8. If you could tell our high school readers about NB, what would you tell them?  

Josh Rowe: New Balance is at the forefront of footwear innovation. It is an amazing place to come to work and be surrounded by passionate, brilliant people dedicated to helping athletes of all abilities achieve their goals.  It is also incredible working for a company with a true soul.  I'm inspired every day.

NBR, # 9. You just picked up Kim Smith, why?  

Josh Rowe: Kim is one of the world's top runners.  We are honored to have the opportunity to work with Kim and learn from her to create better performance product.  Like all of our athletes, Kim inspires us and will help us make our products even better.  New Balance is the world's fastest growing footwear brand and Kim being from New Zealand fits well into our global strategy.



NBR, # 10. What is your philosophy on athletes?  

Josh Rowe: We are very selective at New Balance when it comes to athlete partnerships.  We don't have the budgets that some of our competitors have so we have to be very smart with our investments.  We have a plan for each and every athlete partner, they become part of our family not just another athlete.



NBR, # 11. Tell us about the digital offerings you have for the NBI?  

Josh Rowe: Our digital offering at NBi will be centered around our award winning New Balance Nationals facebook page and our Trackster application.  The digital engagement athletes experience at the NB Nationals events will include live web-casts of an athlete's specific race which can be found through a link on their facebook page and a can't miss photo-booth experience.  We are also working on a platform where athletes can challenge their friends across genders and events.


NBR, # 12. Do you have a favorite track event? 

Josh Rowe: The 1500.  The best race in track and field.  It is the perfect combination of strength speed and strategy.


NBR, # 13. Tell us about the British milers from last year?  

Josh Rowe: The British Miler was a 12-part documentary series that ran last spring on Sky TV in the UK that tracked seven British 1500m runners trying to make the London Olympic team.  The series culminated at the British Trials where Andy Baddeley and Nick McCormack qualified to represent the UK in London.  We are currently working on a long-format version of the series.

RBR, #14: What is overwhelming theme of NB for building running shoes?

Josh Rowe: New Balance believes in building running shoes that are grounded in performance, always.

Andy Baddeley, 2010 New Balance Games mile, 



RBR, # 15. Are we going to see you do something in cross country?  

Josh Rowe: New Balance has big plan for cross country in 2013.  This fall you'll see the best three-pack of cross country shoes in the industry.  The NB line-up is led by the XC5000--one of the lightest cross spikes ever made.  It defines what a pinnacle racing shoe is all about.  The XC900 and XC700 round out the line-up with something special for every level of harrier.

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