Club and Ambassador Opportunities for Sub-Elites

sub-elites warming up

Runners prepare to make a go at an Olympic Trials Qualifier, each wearing her club’s kit.

And I’m back with more information for sub-elites. Way back when, I explained who sub-elite runners are. Then I told you about the many benefits races offer for sub-elite runners, and last week, I explained all the ways that USATF supports sub-elites. Now it’s time to discuss how brands can help you reach your big running dreams! Yes, your favorite running companies do more than sponsor the best in the sport; they are eager to help emerging athletes, too, through elite development clubs and brand ambassador programs!



There’s the Brooks Beasts (track club), Hansons-Brooks (Original Distance Project) and the Mavericks (“Fast-Footed Elites?”) for the elites. Sub-elites are offered the Brooks ID Program, open annually.

Brooks I.D. stands for Inspire Daily. These two simple words guide the principles of the program. Brooks I.D. is made up of over 2,000 members who are active in their running communities and share a passion for the Brooks brand. They are runners who are winners in their own right: Winning their age divisions, accomplishing their personal goals, pushing their own limits, and, by extension, encouraging others to do the same. They are coaches, mentors, and leaders. Brooks I.D. members use their athletic talent to help carry out the Brooks mission: To inspire people to run and be active.

In the past, the program was larger, casting a wider net for emerging runners and coaches, but Brooks has edited it down over the years, so that it now only includes Olympic Trials Qualifiers. It’s hard to get access to the annual application, so knowing someone who can share the link, staying alert on their Facebook or Twitter pages, or emailing Brooks are the best ways to stay in-the-know.


Oiselle explains that its Haute Volee is comprised of “elite women competing at the top of their fields on the national and international level. They are successful veterans and advocates of change within our sport.” Like Brooks ID, the HV is generally limited to Olympic Trials Qualifiers. But if you’re close, it’s worth reaching out.

The Volee, on the other hand, “is a global community made up of women with diverse running backgrounds and competitive goals.” It’s not limited to athletes based on ability and may not offer much beyond an apparel discount and a network of other like-minded runners. We wrote about it here. To apply for the Volee, go HERE. Note: There is an annual $100 fee to be a member.


Last year, Saucony said that its Hurricane Program:

 … will look to attract the highest caliber athletes who compete locally, regionally, and even nationally. In our efforts to continue to recruit the very top echelon of athletes from running communities around the nation, we will continue to focus on road running based athletes. In conjunction we offer our Saucony Zealot team. This team is comprised of the best individuals in our retail space. They are passionate about the Run Specialty environment and have a strong understanding of how to engage with their community.

The 2017 Saucony Hurricane or Zealot applications will be released in the Winter of 2016. Stay connected via Facebook for the link!

Many Others!

Strava Track Club, Boulder Track Club, Seattle Running Club, Club Northwest, and a myriad of other training and racing clubs are out there offering varying levels of support in sub-elite development.

*There are also many opportunities for a runner to work with a shoe or clothing company by way of product testing. For instance, Saucony has a Product-Tester Application (though it helps to live near the Greater Boston area so you can visit the Saucony lab).

For more on post-collegiate clubs, Poppy wrote a more comprehensive post on the topic here.


2016teamnuunNuunbassador Program

Each fall Nuun opens up its Nuun Ambassador Program to new applicants, where, if accepted, you can receive product discounts, opportunities to participate in events, and ambassador-only swag. The program includes professional and amateur athletes from beginner 5k runners to experienced ultramarathon runners, triathletes, and cyclists of all sorts. On top of Nuun sponsored athletes, there are also Nuun sponsored teams. Bellingham Distance Project is a Nuun sponsored team, featured on their website, and each athlete gets a discount. Nuun will release its Nuunbassador Program applications via the Nuun Blog like this one here, with links to apply.

Zensah Ambassador

Zensah is a maker of fine compression-wear. Zensah says about its Ambassador Program:

The Zensah Ambassador Program is designed for people who are passionate about wearing compression, no matter what activity or sport they play. They are motivated, enthusiastic, and are willing to spread the #WithoutLimitz message to others within their daily lives, sport, and community. If this sounds like you, we invite you to apply for the Zensah Ambassador program.

Fill out the online form here.

Team CEP

CEP is another maker of fine compression-wear. Its ambassador program embraces “the entire athletic experience – training, racing, and community involvement – and want to share it with others.” The perks of being part of Team CEP include CEP compression gear to train and compete in year-round, a discount code to share with friends and family, an athlete profile on CEP Compression’s website and exposure on CEP Compression’s social media channels, as well as discounted race entries. Ambassador applications are reviewed on an ongoing basis throughout the year; they request you allow a minimum of 30 days for a response. Apply for Team CEP here.

PowerBar Team Elitepowerbar-logo-team-elite

PowerBar is more than that stick of taffy-like substance your dad ate during his marathon in 1996. It has a varied line of athlete nutrition products and supports many a sub-elite and elite runner. It says its ambassador program is a:

 … grassroots athletic ambassador program that supports athletes, coaches and other athletic influencers. Across a range of sports, from world champion competitors to regional teams and local educators, PowerBar is committed to supporting training and competition, instruction and education and sports nutrition at all levels.

As a member of the PowerBar ambassador team, you receive their full line of PowerBar products, event support, media and education rewards and Team Elite gear items to train and compete in. Before, PowerBar Team Elite worked on two-year acceptance cycles, but they’ve changed it up this year, and will move to an annual application release. If the application is live, you can find it here.

There are several other ambassador programs available to you out there, you just have to do a little digging. For instance, Lululemon, Skora, and Fitletic host their own ambassador programs.

Another great resource is Cardamom’s 2015 post, “So You Wanna Be a Brand Ambassador?“. Read that for great tips on marketability.

Do you train with a club or are you a brand ambassador? Any tips, clubs, or great brand ambassador programs I missed?

Spikenard is a writer, film librarian, wine P.O.S. artist, Saucony Hurricane and co-founder of Bellingham Distance Project, a post-collegiate competitive women's running team in Bellingham, WA. Outside of drinking copious amounts of wine, she nourishes herself in literature and thrifting. Most of her writing centers on relationships, food and travel. She is training for an eventual Beer Mile and the 2020 Olympic Trials in the Marathon.

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  1. This is great! I learned about several new programs (and I emailed this story to a New Balance rep and said, “Hint, hint!”).

    I have a sponsorship through the Hammer Nutrition program, which is focused more on your involvement in your local running community and on social media than on your speed. The application for 2017 closed Nov. 30 but they ARE accepting late applications —

    I’m also a member of Team Zensah, although a new ambassador and I’m still figuring their platform out. Oh, and Sarah Marie Design Studio! She did an inaugural call for ambassadors this fall, so it’ll be interesting to see how that program evolves.

    New Balance and Brooks both offer wear-tester programs, too!

  2. I think ambassadorships can really help get your name out there, and a help getting some discounts on stuff as well. I am a Honey Stinger, Zensah, Nuun and Saucony Ambassador (not Saucony hurricanes, not fast enough quite yet…but I do work with them through other programs which has been amazing). I think it’s been so great to help me meet other people, network, learn more about companies I love, and actually be a little more involved. I’m very adamant about only working with companies that I actually use and love though. I don’t believe in doing it just for the sake of saying I am.

    That would be my advice to people looking into these programs- pick the ones you actually like and want to do something about….it will show. You’ll be a better team member that way, you’ll get more out of it, and it shows that you take it seriously enough and it’s not just for S & G.

  3. Great article, lots of opportunities I didn’t know about. Especially in the comments section. I think it also worth mentioning, a lot of local areas have teams and sponsorship opportunities for sub elites or local elites. Some of our local teams offer free race entries, apparel, shoes and even travel. I like supporting our local running stores and have built lasting friendships that extend beyond running.