This is my third full season of racing triathlons. I started with a single sprint distance race in 2008 and have slowly progressed since then to the pinnacle of the sport, Ironman, which I will do this August. For the first time, this year I decided to pursue some sponsorships to help supplement the cost of being a triathlete. I’ve thought about making a spreadsheet to see how much I spend each year to support my “hobby”, but I’m honestly scared to see what the number is. Let’s just say, it’s way more expensive than stamp collecting!
Sure, I could have continued to do the sport with the gear I started out with…a cheap road bike (no offense White Lightning
), a pair of running shoes and some goggles, but that’s not how my personality works. If I’m going to put forth the effort to do something, I want to do it right. So naturally, as I continue to train more, I need to replace stuff. Some things are replaced due to normal wear and tear, such as shoes, goggles, swim shorts, bike shorts, etc. Other things have been replaced due to the desire to upgrade, such as watches, tri suits, bike shoes, sunglasses, and of course…my bike
You may have noticed my new tri kit in the pictures from last weekend’s race. I have the logos of all three of my sponsors on this new kit and I’ll be wearing it during my races for the remainder of the season.
My pursuit of sponsors started with a guy that I’ve known nearly my entire life…Swag Hartel. Swag opened a running shoe store out of small apartment on New Cut Road back in 1980. My Dad was one of Swag’s original customers and I have memories of going into that shop as a toddler. My Dad would have Swag re-sole some of his running shoes. I’m not sure, but I think my first pair of “real” tennis shoes came from Swag’s. My family and I have been loyal customer’s of Swag’s ever since. I have never purchased a pair of running shoes from anywhere but Swags Sports Shoes.
In all honesty, I didn’t pursue Swag for a sponsorship, my Dad did. Swag had always sponsored runners, but my Pops caught wind of Swag sponsoring a triathlete in last year’s Ironman Louisville and the wheels started turning. Swag offered to buy me a new racing suit, supply me with running and training shoes, and some apparel to run my road races in. Swag is a great guy and he is without a doubt the most customer-friendly shoe store in town. I refer people to Swag any chance I get and will continue to do so.
The second sponsor that I have this season isn’t really one that I asked for something from…they were already giving me their services, so I thought giving them some advertising in return would be the right thing to do. I’ve been friends with Kevin Reichmuth, a Physical Therapist at Dr. Rudy Ellis Sports Medicine Center
for over 20 years now. We went to the same church when I was a teenager and we’ve remained friends over the years, playing in multiple softball, football and basketball leagues…as well as a fantasy football league that pre-dates the internet!
Kevin has always offered to take a look at any injury I’ve incurred while training over the last 2+ years. He’s nursed me back to health from a bruised kneecap, plantar fasciitis, runner’s knee and most recently, a grade three ankle sprain. Being able to recover quickly from injuries is critical to endurance training and without Kevin’s help, I would be in serious trouble!
My final sponsor for this season is the only one that I actually pursued. I mentioned that I was looking for some sponsors one day at work (yes, I have a real job), and the owners of the company said that they were interested. I was not at all surprised by their offer. I’ve worked for Air Equipment Company
for almost 10 years now and I can’t image that there’s a better small business out there to work for. The owner’s go out of their way to make it a great work environment and have always been very supportive of me in not only my professional development, but also any endeavors I pursue in my personal life.
The monetary sponsorship they have given me has gone towards lots of new gear and nutrition for this season. Without this sponsor, I wouldn’t be able to buy the fuel that I’m using during races. Hammer Nutrition makes the best stuff out there, but it’s not cheap!
Here’s a look at my racing kit with all my sponsor’s logos (yes, I know I look like a dork flexing, but trust me, I looked like an even bigger dork just standing there doing nothing!):
The shirt is a Pearl Izumi Elite Series Tri Singlet and the bottoms are Pearl Izumi Elite Series shorts. Logos were printed by Metro Promotional Services.
5/13/11: Brick – Bike (10.0 miles in 31:03), Run (2.04 miles in 15:36)
5/14/11: Race – Taylorsville Half-Ironman (5:19:46)
5/16/11: Bike – Recovery Ride (17.4 miles in 55:01)
5/17/11 Run – Recovery Run (3.60 miles in 30:46)
5/17/11: Swim – Recovery Swim (1104yd in 20:14)
5/18/11: Swim – TrainSmart Group Swim (2800m in 58:39)
5/19/11: Bike – Spin Class (18.0 miles in 57:19)
5/20/11 Run – Easy Tempo Run (5.13 miles in 42:11)