Upon earning a bronze medal at the USA 50k Race Walk Olympic Trials event, I knew almost immediately what I needed. A quality pair of sunglasses. By looking at the photo of me breaking the finishing tape, it would appear I have that covered. Actually that is a pair I borrowed from friend and college classmate Ado Sarrouh. As for that particular race, I was covered which opened my eyes to the reality that I needed a pair without breaking the bank since my wife and I were expecting our first child, who was born just 11 days later.
As a high level and international athlete, one must not be afraid to be creative when something is needed. I knew that I was going to approach R.A.C.E, which stands for Running and Cycling Enterprises about a potential sponsorship following my successful experience of using a pair of XX2i Optics sunglasses that are from the previous decade. I did not ask for a large payout or a laundry list of items, my request was simple; 2 pair of quality racing sunglasses. Two pair would allow a replacement for one that was damaged or stolen. I received an immediate reply, thus prompting the negotiation process.
I made one last ditch attempt following a nearly 3 week dry spell where I did not receive a response, and made certain that the photo of me breaking the tape in XX2i Optics, was included. That photo appeared in 3 newspapers across the nation as well as going viral online thanks to Ken Stone, who is a contributing editor for Times of San Diego.
On Good Friday, I received a surprise call from President and Co-Founder of RACE Enterprises, Paul Craig, who apologized and explained that the employee in charge of getting back to me had abruptly left the job, thus leaving the others to pick up the slack. Not only did Mr. Craig answer any questions, he shipped out a Care package to me the same day! Keep in mind I had not singed a contract. He was so confident that I would be satisfied. Usually this is not my typical experience in this business.
Upon receiving the care package which included 2 pair of sunglasses with a hard case and soft sleeve for each in addition to other accessories. The models I received are the USA1 and the France2. I also received a great assortment of logo’d shirts hats. I tested the sunglasses IMMEDIATELY and yes, I needed a couple workouts to get used to the new feel before I never looked back!
They were put through a test in my 50k Race in Rome, Italy when raced for the USA Team in the World Race Walking Team Championships in May. This race took me over 4 hours and 30 minutes. I did not realize I was wearing sunglasses most of the race. That to me is a mark of quality as opposed to discomfort/friction on the temple, ears, nose as well as bouncing. None are desirable or productive at any time when training and especially when competing. I am honored to represent XX2i Optics.
Seeing is believing so see for yourself at the link below: