The two-time U.S. Olympian could be signing with a shoe brand soon.
Kara Goucher’s sponsorship portfolio continues to grow. Fresh off entering a partnership with upstart apparel brand Oiselle, Goucher announced Thursday she’s signed a sponsorship deal with Nuun and Company, an innovative hydration brand that debuted in 2004. Other new deals with a timing company and a footwear brand are expected to follow soon.
Nuun, which is pronounced “Noon,” is a Seattle-based company that makes concentrated electrolyte tablets that dissolve in water to create an optimal sports drink without added sugars or carbohydrates. Nuun makes tablets geared for endurance sports (Nuun Active Hydration) as well as for daily hydration (Nuun All-Day). This spring it launched Nuun Energy, a new hydration product with a blend of B vitamins and 40mg of caffeine.
Goucher, 35, a two-time U.S. Olympian and world championships bronze medalist, has been using Nuun since 2009, when nutritionist Krista Austin helped her retool her hydration strategies after her debut marathon. She finished third at the 2008 New York City Marathon in 2:25:53 but says she was badly dehydrated in the final miles and might have been chronically dehydrated in the weeks heading into the race.
“My first marathon was kind of a disaster hydration-wise, and one of the things I learned was how to hydrate on a day-to-day basis,” Goucher said. “She introduced me to Nuun back then, told me to drink it during the day to stay hydrated, and I’ve been using it ever since.”
The relationship with Nuun will kick off with Goucher’s appearance at the Nuun booth at the Boston Marathon race expo on Sunday at 11 a.m. at the John B. Hynes Convention Center in Boston.
Nuun’s priority is about helping people stay hydrated and reaching their endurance goals, says Nuun president and CEO Kevin Rutherford, but it is also very interested in battling the obesity epidemic in the U.S. and doing business with as small of a carbon footprint as possible.
Goucher will be highlighted in Nuun’s advertising and in-store merchandising, but Rutherford called the relationship with Goucher more of a partnership than a sponsorship. Terms of the multi-year deal were not released, but, similar to her deal with Oiselle, Goucher will be a stakeholder in Nuun and will be involved in product development.
“It’s much more than, ‘Hey, let’s sponsor you with a logo here,’” Rutherford said. “We have some shared beliefs. One of them is that we’re really serious about the pursuit of being remarkable, but we’re also really serious about not taking ourselves too seriously. I think Kara likes the lightheartedness of what we’re all about. We have a chronically dehydrated society, so we need to help get people hydrated. But let’s have some fun with it.”
Goucher was formally fully sponsored by Nike, a brand that supplied her with almost all of her gear, apparel, and accessories for training and racing. Since deciding not to re-sign with Nike (and Nike signing off on its first right of refusal in March), Goucher has started developing a sponsorship portfolio of sorts.
“Nuun is a good fit for me because I’ve used their product and believed in it for years, but also because it’s a small company with a loyal following,” she said.
Her goal, she says, is to seek out brands she believes in, not just brands that will pay her to endorse their brand. She says she turned down a seven-figure multi-year deal with a large shoe and apparel company before singing with Oiselle because she believed in what the brand was all about. Same goes for Nuun, she says, and the other brands that might be announced soon.
“I feel like there is sort of a shift right now with people starting to explore other companies and just seeing there doesn’t have to be a one-size-fits-all model,” Goucher said.
Goucher is currently rehabbing a sacral stress fracture. Although her plans to run spring track races had to be shelved, she is targeting a fall marathon and, if possible, a handful of summer races. One of the top American marathoners since 2008, she placed sixth in the 2013 Boston Marathon in 2:28:11. Aside from her bronze medal in the 10,000-meter run at the 2007 IAAF World Championships, Goucher placed ninth in the 5,000 and 10th in the 10,000 at the 2008 Olympics and then placed 11th in the marathon at the 2012 Olympics in London.