Sunday, December 18, 2011

From ID'er to Fanatic

Dear Brooks Running,

For the past several years, I have worn your shoes when I have laced up to head out for a run. I owe much to the staff at Hansons Running Stores for introducing me to your footwear. From the Dyfances, to the Axioms, Ghosts, Launches, Adrenalines, Green Silences, and Cascadias, in them I have found a line of shoes that work for my narrow, high arched foot.

When the opportunity presented itself two years ago to apply for the Brooks ID (Inspire Daily) program, I thought that I might as well try. Given the fact that I write a blog, produce a running podcast, tweet , and ran in several races in the Metro Detroit area, I figured I would have an outside shot at making it. Still I was nervous that I did not do enough that would fit into the criteria of Inspiring Daily.

Needless to say, I got in and for the past two years, I have worn your gear proudly. At races as well as on the podcast and this blog, I have continued to promote Brooks. I made sure that at each race, I either sported the ID Shirt or racing uniform provided, and talked about the shoes and gear when questioned.

This year, when the application process began again, I answered the survey to the best of my ability. However, it seemed like the process was geared more towards people who were coaches, or put on races, than the average runner. There was not really an area to talk about the podcast, or blog, or twitter influence. Upon submission, I did not feel really good about my chances of making it.

My chances dimmed as I began seeing people on the Facebook page getting there acceptance letters for the varying levels of Brooks. Sure enough, the email came in last week. Here is a snippet:

" We appreciate your support and dedication to Brooks over the years. In this Olympic year, we had difficult decisions to support all of our key sponsored athletes program. As such, we are not able to invite all I.D. members back for 2012. However, as a valuable member of the Brooks family, we want to invite you to join the Fanatics program."

The immediate, "knee jerk" reaction was to send out a tweet stating my disappointment, and to change my avatar on Twitter which had me sporting a Brooks ID shirt.

Now, I understand that I am not "elite". I don't race every weekend and I don't win races. I am a father and husband with a full time job who regularly runs marathons and does some ultras. Sometimes I help coach people when asked, but coaching my children's sports right now is more important. I run in Brooks shoes and gear every day and talk to and or answer questions from email about your gear all the time on the podcast, Twitter, and Daily Mile.  However, because of your criteria, and to be honest, I am not sure what the criteria was other than that survey,  I apparently did not Inspire Daily enough and was invited to join the Fanatics program.

Yes, I understand that I will still get a discount, but will not be required to wear Brooks all the time and will not have a team uniform.  While you have done an excellent job in my humble opinion in growing the brand and putting together the varying levels of the Brooks program, I hope you don't lose your focus. After this Olympic year, there will still be runners like myself who are not elite hitting the road. Those of us who purchase and talk about Brooks help to support those "elites" as they work towards their individual goals. Even as a Fanatic, I will continue to use that mantra of Inspire Daily with my family, staff, students, kids I coach, and fellow runners that I come in contact with.

Keep Moving Forward,

Dirt Dawg

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