OC Marathon Highlights May 15 2012

Even though it's exhausting being on your feet all day, I really do enjoy it when we get to head to race expos to man the Greenlight Apparel race merchandise booth. A few months ago we were at the California International Marathon, then there was Pat's Race in Arizona, and last weekend we headed to southern California for The OC Marathon.

Aside from getting to hang out with a bunch of runners and enjoy the warm southern California weather, our trip included the following highlights:


We Rented a Truck
Yeah, I know that doesn't sound that exciting, but look at this thing. It was enormous and slightly unwieldy. The shocks on this 13-foot beast were shot to hell so we spent most of trip bouncing along highway 5. On the plus side, none of us got carsick and we did get to experience the novelty of truck stops as well as going through the scales on the freeway. It's the little things in life. Next time we're getting a radio.


The OC TasteFest
Anything that combines a running event with a food event has my full support. Also there were coconuts. Although the straw wasn't particularly useful in trying to get at the actual coconut. They should consider serving it with a machete. I'm just saying.

In 'N Out
They have a vegetarian option. Mind blown.


Army Strong
Sunday morning we needed help setting up. Monika said an army of volunteers was on their way to help us out. I didn't think she meant it literally, but within five minutes a dozen uniformed soldiers were breaking down stands and moving race t-shirts and mannequins. It was kind of amazing.


And then this happened. In my defense, those mannequins are a little awkward to carry around. On a less awkward note, the OC Marathon shirts turned out great.

Ten Things We Learned at the California International Marathon December 08 2011

Soooo....we were responsible for creating the official California International Marathon merchandise this year (This shirt is my favorite). In light of that, the Greenlight team headed to Sacramento over the weekend to man the CIM merchandise booth at the two-day race expo and at the race finish on Sunday morning.

Here's what we learned from the experience...

Mannequins Are Awkward
There is absolutely no way to appropriately wrestle a mannequin into its position on the stand. No matter what you do, your coworker will turn around and lock eyes with you just as you’re awkwardly wrangling a pair of running tights onto the damn thing or struggling to lift it up onto its stand, your hands inappropriately placed. Those things are heavy and expensive. Collapsing into a fit of laughter while carrying one can turn disastrous very quickly. I wish I could say we refrained from all manner of juvenile jokes, but I can’t because we didn’t.

Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall or…You Know, Not at All
So it turns out that when people are trying on shirts, they want to see what they look like. Well, at least prior to running 26.2 miles. After running 26.2 miles, they don’t really care about anything other than sitting down. Either way, we totally forgot to bring the mirror. Oops. Sorry, guys, but thanks for taking our word for it when we told you that you looked fabulous. You did, but next time, we’ll have a mirror. Promise.

It’s Possible to Valet a U-Haul Van
When we finally finish breaking down the merchandise booth at the expo and relocating it to our spot near the finish line, it’s close to 9 p.m. on Saturday and everyone is seriously ready for dinner. Circling around downtown Sacramento as we look for parking, Perry and I are in the U-Haul van and Sonny and Monika are driving just ahead of us when they pull to the side of the road.

“Guys, let’s just valet the U-Haul,” suggests Sonny.

I start laughing because I think he’s kidding, but as we pull up to the restaurant and Sonny jumps out to ask the valet guys if they can valet a U-Haul, I realize he’s serious which just makes me laugh harder. I’m now pretty much certain that Sonny can convince anyone to do anything because 30 seconds later, we’re handing over the keys and walking into the restaurant. What can I say? We like to shake things up.

Sacramento is Cold
We’re from the Bay Area. We do fog and drizzle very well, but when it gets below 60, we have problems. Sacramento was “cold.” I know all of you who actually live in places where winter isn’t just some vague concept are scoffing at the poor Californian who thinks Sacramento is cold, so I’m putting the word in air quotes. Just for you. Seriously though. I actually had to put on a fleece jacket. Can you imagine? It was even colder early Sunday morning while trying to coax race t-shirts onto ice cold hangers with stiff, frozen fingers.

The CIM is Badass
Eight men and twenty-five women qualified for the Olympic Trials, numerous qualifiers for Boston, a marriage proposal at the finish line, and a fireman running with all of his equipment (including the oxygen tank)? That would seal the deal for me right there, but aside from fast runners, superhuman feats, cool costumes, and just being incredibly well organized, the race had a great laid-back feel for such a huge event. They even got the weather gods to cooperate with a perfectly clear and crisp day. Not sure how they swung that one. Sacrifices?

Square is Also Pretty Badass
We’ve been using the Square application for iPhone. I’m not plugging anything, but that application is pretty awesome and really easy to use. After using it a few times (Apparently, I'm a slow learner), I start getting excited when customers pay with card rather than cash (I'm also a simple soul, easily delighted by new things, cookies, and sparkly objects). When people say, “Wow, that is so cool,” I can’t help responding, “I know, right?!” Because it totally is.

All Marathon Finish Lines Need Couches
The next booth we have at a marathon, I vote for couches and not just so I can take a nap, although that is a primary factor. After an hour or two of us hopping around trying to keep warm, runners start to trickle in, hobbling unsteadily with tired, but triumphant expressions. It’s painful to watch them teetering on spent legs as they try to reach up and grab a t-shirt in their size. I know that despite their enormous grins, their legs are throbbing and every movement elicits protest from trembling muscles. I know this because the last time I ran a marathon, my body was pissed. A couch directly after would have been a nice peace offering.

Grilled Cheese for Breakfast
…is a genius idea. We were conveniently placed next to Drewski's Hot Rod Kitchen food truck (I had nothing to do with that. Honest). Think 9 a.m. is too early for grilled cheese? Think again. That’s my new go-to breakfast food.

We’re Kind of Hilarious
I laughed a lot this weekend. Not to pat ourselves on the back too much, but in addition to creating awesome racewear, we’re also pretty much hilarious. Between the mannequins, the U-Haul valet incident, and trying to figure out how to set up (and break down) Container Store organizers, there was ample opportunity to illustrate how ridiculous and insanely funny we are.

Next year. Hats.
I have no idea how many times runners asked us if we had hats, but it was a lot. Point taken. Next year, we need hats. I'm going to push for the ones with beer can holsters. I'll let you know how that goes.

Silicon Valley Turkey Trot November 26 2011

The Greenlight team had a blast at this years Silicon Valley Turkey Trot in downtown San Jose. Check out the video and hope to see you next year!

US Half Marathon SF November 02 2011

We had a beautiful day for the amazing course over the golden gate. It's hard to imagine a nicer day for a run. The race kicked off on the waterfront in Aquatic Park on historic Muni Pier with sweeping views of Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge, through the Marina, Crissy Field, the Presidio and across the famous Golden Gate Bridge, exposing breathtaking sights of the San Francisco cityscape. Back along the Golden Gate Promenade, up through Fort Mason and to the grand musical finish in Aquatic Park. Not too shabby!

Thi Nyugen and Frances Uribe have "been been friends since we were 6 years old - over 22 years of laughter and fun!" Thi moved here from Dallas last year, so Frances flew in from Texas so they could run this race together.

feeling good after the race

25,000 Long Beach Marathon Runners to Fight Child Labor with Greenlight May 11 2011

Simple choice of activist outfitter produces funds to end human trafficking and slavery.

When the 25,000 participants of the Long Beach International City Bank Marathon and Half Marathon begin to perspire their way through this weekend’s events, they’ll be doing more than striving for personal best times – their sweat will be stopping sweatshops.

By partnering with clothing vendor Greenlight Apparel, race producers RUN Racing are funneling $3000 into charities fighting child labor, human trafficking and sex slavery. “RUN Racing is proud to work with Greenlight Apparel and know that we’re not just buying race gear, we’re helping people too,” said John Parks, EVP of RUN Racing. “We always want to provide the very best quality to our race participants, but it’s also great that we can help in this way.” “As a marathon runner I always love going to the expos and buying myself a memorable t-shirt or hat for all the hard training I’ve done,” said Marathon entrant Morgan Gerhart of Progressive Fitness Training Run group, running in her fifth marathon. “I am 100% more likely to buy a t-shirt that supports fighting child labor. It’s so great to know the money is going towards a great cause.”

Greenlight Apparel — Wear it for Good

While many clothing companies are feeling the pressure to go “sweatshop free,” Greenlight Apparel has built its business model specifically around the child labor fight. The company dedicates 10% of every sale to the cause, and actively partners and works with humanitarian charities focused on the Worldwide Child Labor Crisis. Thanks to the sheer numbers behind the Long Beach Marathon, this partnership allows Greenlight to channel $2000 into the microlender Kiva – helping developing communities to produce more sustainable and humane economic opportunities – and another $1000 to the non-profit Love146, which fights for the abolition of child sex slavery and exploitation.

“RUN Racing is easily our largest account, and their level of participation really validates our mission,” said Greenlight Apparel Executive Director Monika Gill. “They could certainly choose any number of clothing vendors, but that they use the opportunity to do something extra, something good with that choice – that really makes a statement.”

Social and eco-entrepreneurism is clearly the Next Big Thing, almost on the verge of creating its own economy a la the Internet. In the athletic apparel industry, Greenlight Apparel, is nearly a veteran in eco-friendly practices and social activism. Launched in 2007, the company has helped rescue 637 children and prevent more than 37,000 child labor hours. In addition to the company’s activism on that front, they also adhere to using 100% organic or recycled fibers. “People make common decisions everyday,” noted Greenlight Apparel co-founder Sonny Aulakh, “and more and more companies like ours are taking common actions that people are going to take anyway, and adding a beneficial byproduct to them. It’s a great trend to be experiencing.”

About Greenlight Apparel: Greenlight Apparel is an activist outfitter of active people, producing high-quality casual and technical apparel for large sporting, entertainment and corporate events. Not just “sweatshop free,” our mission is to aggressively work to eradicate child labor practices and human trafficking. Our company dedicates 10% of each sale to humanitarian partner charities working to eliminate illegal manufacturing sites, build schools and create economic opportunities in developing countries. All Greenlight Apparel merchandise is made with 100% recycled or organic fibers.

About RUN Racing: Led by Olympic Gold Medalist Bob Seagren, RUN Racing specializes exclusively in the development, management and implementation of endurance, health, fitness and special events. RUN Racing events include the OC Marathon held in May; the Pacific Open Water Festivals held in June and August; the Long Beach International City Bank Marathon held in October; the Dana Point Turkey Trot 10K & 5K held on Thanksgiving Day and the LA County Half Marathon held in December. “Follow RUN Racing on Twitter for event information (@RUNRacing) and find The Long Beach International City Bank Marathon on Facebook for interactive event information (Long Beach International City Bank Marathon)”

Oakland Represented Everything Fitness Can Do April 05 2011

The Oakland Running Festival wrapped up almost a week ago now, but that doesn’t make it old news by any means.

Much like your body needs to recover from such an output, and your mind needs some time to let the achievement sink in, the community and the masses have needed a week or so to let the Big Picture develop and assess just how impactful this event has become.

That assessment began with a string of good vibes posted from one runner after another across Facebook and Twitter. Runners loved the event and…*blush*…had a ton of nice things to say about their race tees as well.

But the real accounting of the race’s effect has just recently been released in the form of a commissioned report from the Regional Economic Studies Institute from Towson University in Maryland.

A few line-items from the report: 7,300 runners dumped $3 million into the city; 19 percent were out-of-towners, averaging $445 spent per person on hotels, food, drink, shopping, entertainment, chicken and waffles; for each one, 1.8 non-running guests came along for support.

But really, more valuable than the hard dollar figure is the enormous group hug that all this word-of-mouth generates. Let’s face it, by-and-large the majority of Oakland’s nationwide public relations is emitted from the worst stadium facility in TWO sports, coupled with an infamously criminal-esqe fanbase and the constant threat of being rejected by said teams because, no matter how bad those teams are, they’re still too good for Oakland.

Seriously…ask any long-range out-of-towner their impression of Oakland and you’ll hear it mentioned last among Bay Area destinations, coupled with groans about the Raiders or A’s. Not fair, to say the least.

The truth about Oakland is that it’s gorgeous. On one side it offers sweeping views of San Francisco, on the other the rolling Oakland Hills. In between are blossoming neighborhoods that are becoming more eclectic every day. Rock Ridge? Jack London Square? Are you kidding me? Have you seen them lately?

Well 10,000 plus ORF attendees did. They took a by-foot tour of every nook and cranny the city had to offer, then took to their keyboards to tell the world about it. It was easily the best PR Oakland has received this year, and a testament to the value of fitness events like ORF to create a positive mindshare among the masses. Corporate CMO’s pay attention! Perhaps in lieu of naming rights on the next stadium, you sponsor a series of multi-city fitness events.

Kudos to the neighborhoods of Oakland who all came out to cheer on passing runners and support this celebration of their community. We at Greenlight are honored to have done our part, pumping money from the purchase of our race tees back into the Running for a Better Oakland organization, a non-profit that likes to say it “puts kids back on the streets” by teaching them the value of running and fitness on the wider scale of living an overall better life.

Through the ORF partnership we also were able to donate to Mary’s Meals, an organization that creates a two-fold solution by delivering healthy meals to schools in areas where kids often don’t do either of those. By using the schools as a mess hall, they both create an incentive for the kids to GO to school, and they feed them a healthy meal. Our donation feeds 63 kids for a year.

AAAaaand…because we’re 100% recycled, the ORF shirts spared the equivalent of 60,000 plastic bottles from landfills. Let’s be clear too…all of this back-patting is not on us, but on Corrigan Sports Entertainment for choosing us to partner with on this race. They could use any race tee, but they chose to Wear It For Good.

Here’s to Oakland and the ORF. We hope to be with you year in, year out…