Sunday, January 15, 2012

Goodbye and Thank You, Team Inov-8!

Team Inov-8 for 2012 was announced on their blog yesterday, and it appears I'm no longer on the roster. Sigh! It's been a wonderful five years and I have had a blast racing with so many talented runners. The 2011 team in particular was simply amazing, and I loved racing with Yassine Diboun, Gary Gellin, Sam Robinson, Katie Caba, Jim Johnson, and others as they all had exemplary seasons. Thank you for a "good run", Inov-8, and I wish you the best for 2012 and beyond.


So should I pick up another sponsor? Maybe Skechers? They seem to work well for Meb Keflezighi yesterday when he won the 2012 US Olympic Trials in a PR 2:09:08 at age 36, joining Ryan Hall and Abdi Abdirhaman (his 4th Olympic Team!) on the 2012 Olympic Marathon Team. Or perhaps Nike or Brooks? Their champions did well in the Women's division, with Shalene Flanagan setting an Olympic Trial record of 2:25:38, and Desiree Davila and Kara Goucher coming in soon after to complete the team. It was great to watch on TV yesterday - this is easily one of the strongest marathon teams the US has ever put together.


Let me know if you have suggestions for a new sponsor (scottdunlap [at] yahoo.com). One of my 2011 sponsors told me that the logo on the blog and boost in Google PageRank was worth $70k in advertising to them...you'd think that would worth some free shoes. ;-) As long as it's a brand I love...but looking at my overpacked garage of shoes and apparel, I don't think that limits it much.

39 comments:

  1. That seems unfortunate. I know you're a big fan of their shoes. You introduced me to the 212's in 2009 at the Oakland Marathon and I've gone through six pairs. You were a great champion for their products and very patient with me.

    Dave J.

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  2. Scott - their new team seems to be mostly CrossFit people...is that the new direction?

    I think you should run for Solomon. They have a great team and don't have many masters runners. Or Adidas - we need to get those guys in the trail running circles.

    Calvin Lui

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    Replies
    1. Two solid sponsor ideas, Calvin. Thank you.

      I'm not sure what the fate is of Team Inov-8, and if they are changing direction. The new Team Manager hasn't said much other than announcing the new team.

      Hey cool - nested comments! Thanks, Blogger!

      Delete
  3. Talk to Mackey and get on the Hoka bandwagon. I need more outside opinion whether $160 is worth it for a pair of running shoes.

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    1. Brian - I ran the Hokas Bondi B for the second half of the Wasatch 100, and must say there is something very interesting about those shoes. I had a good second half, was running four days later, then won the Half Moon Bay Marathon a week after that. I've never recovered that fast from a 100 before. Perhaps I should reach out to Mackey, Mr. UltraRunner of the Year!

      Delete
  4. Does this link help? It is from the Ethical Consumer. Brooks come out very poorly, perhaps this is something to consider?

    http://www.ethicalconsumer.org/buyersguides/clothing/sportstrainers.aspx

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  5. According to Google, your blog gets 5.7 times the traffic of inov-8.com. I think we have our first nomination for "worst marketing decision by a trail running company for 2012".

    i'm assuming this means you won't be hanging out at ZombieRunner to talk up the Inov-8 line anymore...we will miss having you around!

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    1. Keith - Now, now, I'm sure Inov-8 had their reasons. They are doing a serious refresh of the team, apparently. The 2011 Team has not been notified of any 2012 decisions by the new team manager, Gina Lucrezi, so I can't comment on their direction. You'll still find me at ZombieRunner though...coffee is way too good to skip out.

      Delete
  6. I think this is a good test of how responsive trail running shoe companies can be to web-based marketing opportunites. It's a good test to see which of them "get it" and which do not.

    I would have thought that such a massive volume of web traffic is something they should want to be a part of and they should already be sending you emails today.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Paul!

      I'm a strange bird in the team sponsorship world. Lots of traffic, lots of pictures, good adventure stories, but my results are all over the place. Most of my sponsors to date reached out because they liked the vibe and the traffic - we'll see! It won't slow me down one way or the other.

      Delete
  7. Scott,

    I've tried 3 different versions of inov-8 (roclite 295, x-talon 212, f-lite 230) shoes over the last 9 months or so. The x-talon has been my favorite but doesn't really seem like the right shoe for longer (50M+) or more technical races. I don't think any of these shoes are as versatile as the original new balance 100. I just ordered a pair of the new balance 110s and I'm hopeful that I will be able to transition away from the inov-8s completely in short order. The fact that you seem to have been unceremoniously dropped from the team just motivates me more to make the 110 in to my all-purpose trail racer. Hope you have another great year.

    Mike

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  8. This blog is the reason I found inov-8 (and Injinji for that matter) and why I have been running their roclites for the last two years. I've always thought of you synonymously with the Inov-8 brand. A "good run", as you say. Sorry it has to come to an end.

    I'm surprised you aren't sponsored by Nikon or Canon (or whatever camera you use). Not as comfortable on your feet but good strategic alignment.

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  9. I'm surprised that they did not contact the 2011 members before the new team postings. My wife and I both own Inov-8's in part because of your website and exposure we had from it.

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  10. My vote is for Salomon. Have you tried their shoes? Of any company right now, they seem most in tune and interested in taking an active role in our sport.

    Their only problem? They need a more visible marketing campaign Stateside.
    Solution: Partner with a guy with earned credibility and massive traffic.

    Problem. Solved.

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  11. I still absolutely love my Inov-8 shoes (Mudroc and Roclite), but it is getting a little old seeing all the crossfit stuff on their Facebook page. I suppose it's where the new $$ are, but I hope they stay true to their trail/fell running roots.

    Like Megan, I found Injinji through your site, and it's pretty much the only socks I use now (I love the liner micro toesock).

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  12. Also moving on from my old sponsorship ... maybe we can start a group of blogging old men that run a lot that used to be sponsored ...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Brought to you be Aleve, Geritol, and Lenscrafters featuring their 30-minute bifocals...love it!!!

      You know, I've always thought that Depends undergarments had a niche market with ultrarunners. Just think - no pesky bio break stops...

      Delete
  13. I'm in. Particularly if we get Green Flash sponsorship too.

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  14. It sounds like Inov-8 didn't even give you a courtesy call? After all these years?? That is seriously lame. If you burnt all your shoes in effigy I would complete understand. They are off my list now for sure.

    You should take on Hoka just to say f-you on the whole minimalist movement. It's like Mitt Romney switching parties (and so far, that seems to be working out just fine for him).

    That's so weird that inov8, a company that identifies purely with trail running, would make sure an abrupt shift to the flavor of the day (CrossFit, P90X, Parkur, etc.). Such a shame - they really had a great team last year. Who knows...

    ReplyDelete
  15. Never tried Inov8 shoes, but did find S!Caps from your blog. They have been a god send. I don't think I've had a cramp in 3 years. I'm still trying to figure out why they work so well.

    Sean J.

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    Replies
    1. Aren't they the bomb? LOVE the S!Caps.

      Delete
  16. Hello Team "Inside Trail Racing" I see...

    http://www.insidetrail.com/2012/01/trail-racing-team/

    Happy New Running Year!

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    Replies
    1. Yes! I'm very exciting to be teaming up with Inside Trails Racing to launch their 2012 races. It's a wicked fast team too - Victor Ballesteros, Gary Gellin, David La Duc, the Tim's, Caren Spore, Larissa Polischuk, Sarah Lavender Smith...I'll be lucky to podium in my age group!

      Was going to post something once they got the logo'd gear out to us...

      Delete
  17. I never own Inov8 shoes but after reading your article and checking out how it looks like, I'm thinking of buying a pair next month. Which model do you prefer? How about Inov-8 Roclite 268? Is this worth it? Here's the link - http://barefootrunningshoes.org/inov-8/unisex/inov-8-roclite-268/

    Any help is greatly appreciated.

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    Replies
    1. I had always been a fan of the 212's (barefoot-like) and the 295's (a more solid shoe). The 268's weren't quite pliable enough for me and I preferred the treads of the 295's, but my wife loves her 268's.

      Delete
  18. They dropped James, Yassine, Sabrina, Basham, Sophie and all, leaving only Lunblad duo? Really? From their news page seems it is some kind of marketing decision on sponsoring CrossFit games...I just had no clue crossfitters wear trail shoes (no offense, but why would you need shoes that are made fro trails?). On the same token seems that they developed a racer for roads. I am confused where they are going, and looks like wherever it is, trails/ultrarunners are not included.
    If you're on ITR (which you are), you kind of obligated to be with LaSportiva since they partnered up. That's what happened to WMSGT and their partnership - the shoe company that announces not only discounts but actually free shoes and promos is not (and should not from business point) have other shoes being represented by members sponsored. Personally, I loved Sportiva shoes (Crosslights come closest to Inov8, and they have a new one the name doesn't jump to mind even lighter). SO, how 'bout you email Sportiva guys? And I double on getting sponsorship by a photo camera maker! I do know a person or two sponsored by a car. Reach out, Scott, you have an awesome traffic!

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    1. Yes, it appears the whole Inov-8 running team from 2011 has been dropped short of the Lundblad's. I have to say "appear" because none of us have been notified one way or the other, nor have they replied to any inquiries from any of us. Frustrating, and surprisingly unprofessional and inconsiderate to a group of people who have bled Inov-8 for years. I feel especially bad for Mark Lundblad, who did a tremendous job building a deep team and raising the level of communication and professionalism. Those were the glory days!

      I do plan to try out the La Sportivas, and have enjoyed throwing on all kinds of shoes the last week. It turns out there have been some crazy innovations in the last few years! Good fun.

      We shall see!!!

      Delete
    2. La Sportiva is a big partner for our racing events in 2012. They are not (currently) a sponsor of the team. However, we (ITR) are providing LS shoes for team members interested in wearing them. Members may wear any shoe they choose. Scott's a very positive and valued member (as are all the folks on the team), so we are happy to support his shoe of choice.

      Delete
  19. I spoke with another Inov8 team member who is in shock about this whole thing, and now has no shoe sponsor for the year despite being one of the top 10 ultrarunners in the nation. He is f'd. You can't just do that and not even call to say what is going on, or why the change in direction. I wonder what the backlash will be. I know I won't even consider them now.

    Scott, you're just a hub of controversial posts these days...

    Toni S.

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  20. The Team Inov-8 Web Site says Mark Lundblad is the Team Captain. He's a good guy. I'm surprised he hasn't been more above board about the decisions to focus on CrossFit.

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    Replies
    1. Mark was the Team Captain up until September, 2011, and I would agree he did a phenomenal job. I'm not sure where you saw it say he's the Team Captain, but it must be out of date.

      The current Team Manager is Gina Lucrezi.

      Delete
  21. BTW, I did receive an e-mail today from Inov-8 apologizing for not notifying me earlier of not making the team, citing e-mail issues. Hopefully other former teammates got the same apology.

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    Replies
    1. Apparently the answer is "no". ;-)

      Former Team Inov-8 members, just send me an e-mail at scottdunlap [at] yahoo.com and I will forward the e-mail that was sent to me after I reached out to the CEO (he never replied, but the message worked it's way down the chain).

      Delete
  22. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  23. It would appear they've dropped Ben Nephew as well. I always enjoyed his race reviews, it was nice that he was East Coast and it's not all about California. I thought his shoe reviews were top notch as well.
    Anyhow, as far as I know, most hardcore Crossfitters wear Vibrams, and those that don't aren't going to pay $100+ for a pair of trail shoes.
    JMO, but I think this may be the Running Shoe version of "New Coke".
    I've bought my last pair of Inov'8's.
    I love my Crosslites anyway, and would try the Hokas if they sold them in Ontario.

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  24. Did they drop all the trail runners? Yassine Diboun, Ben Nephew, Jim Johnson, Katie Caba, Maria Petzold, Jonathan Basham, DeWayne Satterfield, Camille Herron, Gary Gellin, Aaron Saft, Eric Charette, Amy Moran, Abby Mahoney, and others? All without notice?????? They just cut the soul out of their brand.

    inov-8 is done with us trail runners. i am done with them. Good luck competing with Reebok for lamest shoe ever.

    Regretfully,
    Stanford Smith

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  25. In the words of Dennis Eckersly, "F*ck 'em."

    I enjoy reading your blog, wearing Inov-8's and the other runners I have found through both of them. It doesn't sound like how it went down was right but I don't think you'll have a problem finding a replacement.

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  26. I've been a Director of Marketing at two different sports companies, and can tell you that few investments go as far as an expanded team. Your brand is seen "everywhere", there are built in ambassadors, and people can see your product in action (usually winning), which drives the right kind of demand when people ask for the brand at their local stores. In many ways it becomes the soul of the brand, all for the price of some discounted shoes and team apparel.

    I always scratch my head when I see brands pull back on their teams. It's usually a case of a new marketing manager going by the budget, unsure how to "measure" the success vs a magazine ad or trade show. It is almost always the case of a head of marketing who doesn't use the product or go to events.

    Jason Chang

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