Ever wonder about the WHY behind the sponsorships? Does LeBron James really drink Coke for breakfast? Is Nationwide really on Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s side? And does Tiger really wear a Rolex? (Ok, that one probably yes).
Most of the athletes in my sport of running are sponsored by companies and products that are relevant to what we do. Shoes, GUs and moos seem to naturally make sense. But what’s the actual story behind the brands and the athletes they sponsor? I have no idea to be honest. But here’s mine …
Early Days as an Otter Pup
I went to college and ran at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado … also thehometown of OtterBox. (OtterBox? Like, the indestructible cell phone cases that have an adorable Otter as their mascot? Yes, the one and only!) As the doom of getting a “big kid job” post-college loomed, all of my friends desperately wanted to try to get jobs at OtterBox. The reputation of the culture, their community involvement and of course, the undeniable indestructibility of the cases themselves were infamous. And if you were lucky enough to get a job at OtterBox straight away? #celebstatus
Well, I didn’t get a job at OtterBox out of college. But three years ago, I was lucky enough to land a job as their Chicago-based field marketing rep. This was the perfect location at the time because I had started to pursue my nagging passion of comedy, and Chicago is Comedy Mecca. (The running in The Windy City was a bit frigid at times, though). Day one on the job, I met an Otter named Justin, who was fully-tatted with a man-ponytail and a gigantic grin.
Fast forward to today, I’m now thrilled to be Mrs. Man-bun for the rest of my life! Fun fact, otters hold hands while sleeping so they don’t drift apart in the water. (Justin & I don’t do that, but it would be otterly adorable if we did).
Eventually, Justin and I moved back to Colorado and worked at OtterBox headquarters in Fort Collins. Being the serial dream-chaser that I am, I was filling my plate with a cornucopia of goals. I set a goal of qualifying for the Olympic Marathon Trials, so I was training up to 70 miles per week up to three hours a day. I set a goal to be on SNL one day, so I was pursuing comedy by performing in shows, taking classes and rehearsing up to five nights a week. Did I mention that Justin and I were living in Denver and commuting an hour each way three days a week to Fort Collins for work?
Needless to say I was running on empty, and a hard decision came when I realized I needed to make some choices. I absolutely loved working at OtterBox, but my lifelong dream of running and doing comedy was at my fingertips. Hold please, there’s no career path or title for that, right? Nope — but I’ll create it. I’ll call it being a Funny Runner. But wait, how do you make a living being a “Funny Runner”? Can you make a living being funny? Can you make a living being a runner? No clue, but I’m going to figure it out. But wait, how can you do both comedy AND running? Not sure, but I’m going to try. But wait, what if you’re not fast or funny? Trick question, I’m both or I’ll fake it til I make it.
OtterBox: Phone & People Protector
Early fall 2017, with the incredible support of my Jusband, I decided to leave my job at OtterBox. Being the brilliant supporter that they are, OtterBox agreed to support me on my journey in pursuit of my passions, most notably as an athlete. So here I am, training my way to the 2020 Olympic Trials, and I am so proud to represent the incredible OtterBox brand in all of my races and the people who bring this brand to life!
I rock my OtterBox gear on race day, and you won’t catch me outside without my OtterBox-branded FlipBelt snuggling my OtterBox case protecting my phone. So yes, I really do use and love my OtterBox case. I’m proud to be an Otter-lifer.
Thank you, OtterBox, for creating a culture that not only inspires growth but encourages it. Thank you, OtterBox, for sponsoring me as runner, which allows me the time to focus on training but also the time to pursue comedy. Thank you, OtterBox, for protecting more than just cases, but also your people. To all of you fellow serial-dreamers, fiercely pursue those dreams, but be grateful for everyone that helps make your swim down the river that much smoother (that was an otter reference).
Act Out and Be Runderful.
-The Funny Runner