For most of us, getting “sponsored” for an athletic event like a triathlon or half-marathon probably means sending emails to our friends, family, and coworkers asking them to show their support with a donation. “Sponsorship” doesn’t usually include a big brand getting involved, like it would for a professional athlete.
This marathon season, that’s changing. Milk—as in, the dairy beverage—has launched a new campaign called 26.2 that’s specifically meant to support female runners in the New York City Marathon, which takes place on November 6. If you’re a woman runner doing the race, you can sign up to get “sponsored” by Milk, no matter your pace or experience level. Look at you, big shot!
Milk will match your registration fee ($295) with an in-kind donation to the non-profit organization Girls On The Run, which helps educate and empower girls through running. (They’re matching fees for a total donation of up to $600,000). Members of #TeamMilk will also get running swag, a cheering section at the race, educational prep and recovery materials, and an online community.
The sponsorship campaign is one way that Milk (which is actually a trade consortium called America’s Milk Companies) is trying to position itself as a performance drink. Chocolate milk has long been a go-to recovery beverage. And nutrients, calories, protein, and fat are all necessary to help fuel your body for runs, so the idea makes sense! (That is, if we can get over the iconic Anchorman “milk was a bad choice” scene. Oof, sorry, Milk.)
But the organization also says they’re doing the campaign to raise awareness around the gap in sponsorships that men and women athletes get. The pay gap in professional sports is well known, but Milk says that, according to Deloitte Insights, just 7 percent of the $30 billion spent globally on sponsorships goes to sportswomen.
America’s brands can certainly do better than that, and it looks like Milk wants to be at the front of the pack.
Whether you’re training for a marathon or a run around the block, here’s a 10-minute mobility workout that will help get your legs run-ready.