FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ETONIC WORLDWIDE, ROAD RUNNER AKRON MARATHON PARTNER
TO GIVE RUNNERS FREE SHOES
AKRON, Ohio (March 20, 2006) - Venerated athletic shoe manufacturer Etonic
has jumped back into the running shoe market with both feet landing in
Akron. In a first-of-its-kind partnership, Etonic Worldwide of Waltham,
Mass., has inked a deal with the Road Runner Akron Marathon to provide a
free pair of shoes to all runners who finish the marathon on race day,
Sept. 30, 2006.
Jim Barnett, executive race director of the Road Runner Akron Marathon,
said a premium such as the Etonic shoes not only validates the Akron race
with world-class runners who have participated, but also will keep the
event on the radar screen of running enthusiasts worldwide.
"Our marathon is the first race where marathon finishers will take home a
free pair of shoes along with the hats, t-shirts and various running
supplies that are customarily in runners' goodie bags," he said. "We're
trying to create an overwhelming incentive for runners to be in our event
because, once we get them, we know we'll keep them for a long time. We hope
this becomes a long-term partnership with Etonic."
Running, track and field experts say the premium is unheard of in any other
"I have not heard of anything like this, where they give every finisher in
a marathon a pair of shoes," said Ryan Lampa, spokesman for USA Track and
Field, the national governing body for track and field. "The shoe give-away
may boost the percentage of finishers."
Pete Woodward, Etonic's coordinator of walking and running, said the
company's reasoning for becoming involved in this particular event is
two-fold: To be among the first major shoe companies to reach a talented
pool of runners, and to re-introduce its line of running shoes after a
brief period of being out of the running shoe market.
"Our slogan phrase is 'First one there.' Etonic is the first one there to
do this type of thing," Woodward said. "We're doing this just to get our
product out to a solid group of runners that obviously are quality runners,
to create a relationship with that city as well as area of the country, and
we're trying to increase awareness of our products and technology."
Etonic executives say this event will serve as a welcome back party of
sorts for Etonic's running and walking shoe business, which was licensed
from 2000 to 2005 by former owner Spalding Sports Worldwide to Kinetic
Sports. Spalding, which is known worldwide for producing professional
athletic equipment, jettisoned the running and walking shoe division
because it did not have the expertise and background in athletic shoes,
said Etonic spokesperson Karen Pitts.
"We have had a great heritage in the running shoe category since the late
1960s," Pitts said. "We are very excited to be back."
A $75 Etonic coupon will be made available to all marathon runners who
cross the finish line. The coupon can be exchanged for a variety of new
shoes or applied towards the purchase of more expensive Etonic shoes.
"The shoe give-away is a sign that the Road Runner Akron Marathon is living
up to its name as one of the 50 great U.S. Marathons," said Steve Marks,
founder of the Road Runner Akron Marathon. "Runners can truly appreciate
what the value is for this. If you look at what you get for being in our
event, for what you pay, you've run the race for free."
Close to 1,000 marathon runners participated in the Road Runner Akron
Marathon last year.
Registration deadlines for this year's race are midnight Wednesday Sept. 27
online, and between 11 a.m. and 9 p.m. Friday Sept. 29 at the official
marathon Expo, held at the University of Akron's new Athletics Field House.
Discount registrations are available online and by mail if postmarked
before Sept. 19.
The marathon is organized by the Akron Marathon Charitable Corporation, a
nonprofit group that is dedicated to promoting health and fitness
Additional information on the Road Runner Akron Marathon and Team Relays is
available at www.akronmarathon.org or by calling (330) 375-2786 (2RUN).