We are beyond thrilled to finally be announcing our multi-year partnership with professional running team HOKA NAZ Elite!
When Picky Bars was first imagined in 2010, Jesse, Lauren, and Steph aimed to create nutritionally-balanced, easy fuel for athletes by athletes. The ultimate goal was to eventually be able to sponsor those chasing their athletic + life dreams, just like our founders themselves.
Similarly, HOKA NAZ Elite was launched in 2014 as an elite running group chasing big-time goals with the guidance of Head Coach Ben Rosario. Flagstaff, Arizona based HOKA NAZ Elite has quickly grown to one of the most successful and popular professional distance running teams in the U.S. and internationally. HOKA NAZ Elite athletes have produced eight top-ten finishes at World Marathon Majors, taken home five international medals, and won a grand total of 71 races including 12 national titles. Just this past year, Aliphine Tuliamuk won the 2020 U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon as the Picky HQ team cheered from a coffee shop in Bend, Oregon.
One of NAZ Elite’s most notable athletes also happens to be our very own co-founder, Steph Bruce. Steph’s open approach to social media, writing, and speaking have allowed her fans to watch her grow and flourish as one of the top elite distance runners in the country, both as a mom and co-founder of Picky Bars.
The HOKA NAZ Elite Team, including Aliphine (third from front right) and co-founder Steph (pink shorts)
Steph’s thoughts on the partnership:
"When we started Picky Bars 10+ years ago, our vision was could we one day give back to the people that were in our positions when we were starting the sport. Could we grow this company enough that we invested in the sports that shaped us. I’m thrilled to say that we finally reached that goal and to be able to sponsor our first official professional running team and that it’s my own HOKA NAZ Elite, just brings it all full circle."
On a call this week, Ben Bruce (the other half of #TeamBruce and also the team pacer and assistant coach) shared, “The team is really excited about this partnership, and many of them have been using the products already for years. They’re excited to dive in and get going right away.”
Coach Ben Rosario has been a long-time fan and supporter of Picky Bars himself, and a long-time member of the Picky Club with his wife and HOKA NAZ Elite director of operations, Jen Rosario. Before his daughter’s dance recital this weekend, their family plans to enjoy Picky Pancakes before hitting the road.
From Coach Ben:
"My first experience with Picky Bars was as a run-specialty retailer in my hometown of Saint Louis where our store (Big River Running Company) was in the first wave of retailers to carry the product. What I loved about the company then was what I still love about it today; it has this super fun vibe and yet you can tell that they work incredibly hard and believe wholeheartedly in their mission."
Both Picky and NAZ do their best to promote authenticity and share the journey with their fans and communities. Both believe in working hard to get the most out of life’s potential, all while having fun.
Fun is important too.
“The NAZ team’s ability to tell stories to their audience aligns with how we tell our stories. Aspirational professionals competing at a world-class level, but down-to-earth story-tellers that are hopefully relatable to our consumers and our fans.”
“A multi-year partnership shows how committed we are to distance running as a target market and how much we want to support distance runners with our marketing dollars. Two years gives us time to activate and develop the relationship over time, allowing it to be more authentic and do more stuff, go deeper, with the team.”
Picky Bars is thrilled to be able to support HOKA NAZ Elite’s journey as they prepare for this year’s track and field Olympic Trials and work to get as many athletes as possible to join Aliphine in this year’s Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
As a way to kick off the new partnership, and in line with both companies’ desire to provide quality content for their fans, Picky Bars will be hosting a screening of A Time and a Place, a documentary film that follows the HOKA NAZ Elite team for the four months leading into last year’s Olympic Trials Marathon. The virtual screening will be available to fans across the globe starting Saturday, April 10, at 7am PST through Sunday, April 11, at 11pm PST. Tickets are now available to purchase at A Time and a Place - Picky Screening.
[Picky Clubbers can now purchase tickets for half off-- check your email for the exclusive link!]