The Trail Running Team is now in its second year and it really is going from strength to strength.
The Trail Running Team was designed as a way to allow non-elite trail runners to experience some of the benefits usually bestowed on those at the very pinnacle of off-road running. The runners selected for the Team would win kit, nutrition products and advice, accessories, a training camp in the Alps and world-wide fame (well, they would feature on a dedicated website, social media channels and in Trail Running Magazine, which is pretty close).
This year we had a superb group of sponsors – Berghaus for the apparel, backpacks, accessories and footwear, TORQ Fitness for all the Team’s nutrition requirements and LED Lenser to make sure the team could see in the dark with one of their excellent head torches.
How the Trail Running Team came together
The process of finding the team started at the beginning of the year when the application phase opened and hundreds of hopefuls signed up. From that huge group, 100 were shortlisted and invited to one of two Trail Team Days, the first one in Helvellyn and the second one in London.
The Trail Team Days were a brilliant opportunity for the hopeful runners to meet one another, hear from the brands supporting the team and enjoy some really inspirational talks from the likes of Steve Birkenshaw, winner of the 2013 Dragons Back Race, Helene Whittaker, winner of the original Dragons Back, Stuart Mills, Team GB Ultra Runner and David and Katherine Lowrie who ran the length of north America while pulling their belongings in a cart.
From the 100 shortlisted applicants the final six runners for the Trail Running Team were picked and within a few weeks were off to Chamonix for a trail running camp in the Alps. You can read more about all this on the Trail Running Team website.
What the Trail Running Team delivers
The Trail Running Team 2014 is an on-going project and in fact the team will remain as ambassadors for the sponsors for as long as possible. Many of the 2013 Team are still involved this year.
From the sponsors point of view, the Trail Running Team creates a number of benefits – they can interact with trail runners at the application phase and then, more closely, at the Trail Team Days. The applicants for the Team create plenty of noise on social media and the events at the Trail Team Days allows for some great assets – such as photographs and films – to be created.
Once the team has been picked there are plenty of chances for the sponsors to interact with them. This year they were able to gain feedback about products as well as benefiting from the social media reach that the Team creates. The training camp in Chamonix was a perfect opportunity for us to create assets that can be used for the Trail Running Team next year and by the brands on their social media and marketing and in Berghaus’ case involve two of their elite athletes – Philippe and Anna Gatta, who live in Chamonix – in the programme.
The plans for the Trail Running Team 2015 are already being made and it will be bigger and better, with more trail runners involved, more non-competing brands included and even more coverage. The only thing that can’t get bigger are the grins on the faces of the runners successful in getting into the Trail Running Team.