Nick Symmonds leaves OTC

Brooks Running Company Jumpstarts 100th Year with a Clear Focus on the Future of Run, Signing Olympian Nick Symmonds

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Brooks welcomes the No. 1 800m runner in the U.S. and deepens its commitment to competitive running

Press Release
Seattle – 
Jan. 2, 2014 –  Brooks Running Company, the leader in performance run, celebrates the start of its centennial year by solidly investing in the future of the run, adding Olympian Nick Symmonds to its roster of sponsored athletes. Symmonds joins the Brooks Beasts Track Club (TC), a middle distance, Seattle-based training group formed last year by Brooks to set a new standard for racing, team, culture and spirit on and off the track.

“Brooks makes a commitment to support its athletes through the good times and the bad,” said Nick Symmonds, No. 1 800m runner in the U.S. “After visiting the Brooks headquarters and meeting with many employees and my new teammates, I know Brooks and I share similar goals and values.”

With the addition of Symmonds to the Brooks Beasts TC, Brooks continues to build on its unique vision for sponsored athletes, creating training groups where teamwork and culture on and off the track are celebrated as much as individual success and accolades. In addition to the Beasts, the company also sponsors the Hansons-Brooks Original Distance Project, a training group that has produced two Olympians to date.

“Nick is one of the few athletes who understand that their job is not just to run fast but to use their role as professional runners to inspire others to Run Happy,” said Jesse Williams, head of sports marketing for Brooks Running Company. “In addition to meeting his goals on the track, Nick works tirelessly off the track to put a spotlight on the sport. As a company that is singularly focused on the run, Nick’s vision and passion for running make him a perfect addition to our team.”

Symmonds, who will move from Eugene, Ore., to Seattle, currently holds the year’s fastest time in the country for the 800m distance. Along with his global and national racing experience, he brings many more accolades to the Brooks team, including:

  • ·         800m personal record of 1:42.95
  • ·         Ranked No. 2 in the world, No. 1 in the U.S. at 800m
  • ·         Third fastest American ever at 800m
  • ·         2-time Olympian, 5th in the 800m run in London, 2012
  • ·         2-time World Championship 800m Finalist, silver medalist in 2013
  • ·         5-time USA Outdoor Champion at 800m

Nick Symmonds Signs With Brooks: 4 Quick Thoughts About Symmonds’ Move

by Robert Johnson
January 2, 2014

US 800 meter star Nick Symmonds wasn’t without a shoe contract for long. The former Nike runner has signed a new sponsorship deal with Brooks this morning. Here are 4 Quick Thoughts About Nick Symmond’s Move To Brooks.

1) A smart move by Brooks which will be good for the sport.

The Brooks Beast Track Club was started last year and was building into a respectable outfit but the PR value of the club was very low until now. Now they’ve got a ‘name’ and face to draw attention to the whole group.

It’s a good development for the sport as well. When adidas bought Reebok in January of 2006, I was worried there would be minimal competition for elite runners, but other companies have come in slowly to fill the void.

Team sports have a big advantage over running because fans love having a team to root for. What is by far the most popular event in running? The Olympics and there fans have a team to root for (Team USA, Russia, etc).

Running has a long way to go but it would be a good thing if fans sort of had teams they could root for. Instead of rooting for the Yankees or Redsox, you can root for Nike OTC, Brooks Beast Seattle, adidas/BAA, etc.

2) Money talks. Nick Symmonds has always praised coach Mark Rowland as being one of the best in the world, but is willing to leave him behind. It will be interesting to see how Simpson does with a new coach Danny Mackey.

Symmonds has consistently praised his coach at the Nike Oregon Track club, Mark Rowland as being one of the best in the world. He did so on video with us this summer and just last week to David Monti when he said, “I can say with confidence that I could not have been able to accomplish all that I have without the Oregon Track Club Elite and the wisdom of Mark Rowland.” Reading the quote now, it’s clear Nick was saying good-bye.

Nick Symmonds celebrates his victory at the 2012 US Olympic Trials

Nick Symmonds celebrates his victory at the 2012 US Olympic Trials

Personally, I think Symmonds will probably do just fine. In the modern, post-Internet era we live in today where the training secrets are largely a thing of the past, the runner makes the coach and not vice versa.

Jenny Simpson won a world-title under Juli Benson and a silver with Mark Wetmore. Leo Manzano was a star with Jason Vigilante in college and post-collegiately with Ryan Ponsoby/John CookMatthew Centrowitz won bronze with Andy Powell guiding him and silver with Alberto Salazar.

Running is like the NFL. A great quarterback is going to shine no matter where they play. Nick Symmonds is Peyton Manning and will do well whether he’s in Indy or Denver.

When someone is a seasoned as Symmonds is now (he just turned 30 on December 30th), normally by that time, the athlete is acting at a minimum as a co-coach with the actual coach. The good news is we known Symmonds kept a detailed training log as he sold copies of it last year online (we bought one) so he’ll have a lot of material to work with.

Plus, we think change for runners can be good.

After five or six years of the same routine, it’s hard not to get stale. With Symmonds, that wasn’t the case as there is no doubt he’s never run better than he has the last two years which were phenomenal, but change isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

3) Nike is the opposite of the New York Yankees.

In professional sports, a slew of big name franchises like the New York Yankees are known for using their incredible war chests to sign big stars who were developed elsewhere. Often times, these contracts end up being for too much money and too much time (Alex Rodriguez is the perfect example) for an aging star.

Nike, seems to take the opposite approach. They get the big talents when they are young, are with them on the way up, but then Nike has consistently refused to pay a ton to keep them once Nike views they are past their peak.

Some probably think of it as heartless, others would call it shrewd business making. You decide but it’s a consistent pattern:

1) Olympic medallist Meb Keflezighi left for Skechers in 2011.
2) Leo Manzano won an Olympic silver in 2012 while running for Nike and is now still without a shoe contact.
3) Now there is Nick Symmonds – World Championship silver in 2013 – moves to Brooks in 2014.

4) Nick Will Have Plenty of People To Train With

We know casual fans may wonder, but who will Nick train with? The Brooks Beast club is by no means the Nike Oregon Track Club but it’s got a pretty stellar mid-d roster. The full Brooks Beast roster appears below, but here’s how a mythical 4 x 800 matchup between Symmonds old team and new one looks on paper based on PBs.

Brooks Beast 4 x 800
Matt Scherer – 1:46.11
Mark Wieczorek – 1:45.36
Casimir Loxsom – 1:45.28
Nick Symmonds – 1:42.95
Total: 6:59.70
Nike OTC 4 x 800
Elijah Greer 1:45.04
Andrew Wheating – 1:44.56
Tyler Mulder – 1:44.34
Nick Symmonds – 1:42.95
Total: 6:56.89


Nick Symmonds is now with Brooks

Nick Symmonds is now with Brooks

2014 Brooks Beast Track Club

Nick Symmonds – 1:42.95 pb
Casimir Loxsom – 1:45.28 pb
Mark Wieczorek – 1:45.36 pb
Riley Masters – 3:37.19 pb
Matt Scherer – 1:46.11 pb

Katie Mackey – 4:04.60 pb
Angela Bizzarri – 15:16.04 pb
Deb Maier – 9:02.35, 15:29.24, 32:12.47
Jessica Tebo – 15:19.43 pb
Jamie Cheever – 9:29.13 pb
Erica Moore – 1:59.97 pb

Coach: Danny Mackey


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    Nick Symmonds Talks About His Move To Brooks

    10 Takeaways From Our One on One Interview With Symmonds

    January 2, 2014

    Less than two hours after his new deal with Brooks was officially released, we caught up with US 800 meter star Nick Symmonds via phone from the Brooks headquarters in Seattle. Here are 10 takeaways from our chat with Nick.

    1) Nick feels your pain but he can’t tell us how much the deal is worth.

    Before we interviewed Nick, we put up on the messageboard a post saying we were going to interview Nick and asked for your suggestions as to what we should ask. Many of you wanted us to find out what we already were going to ask: How much is his contract for and how long is it for?

    We started off our interview with Nick by saying he’s always wanted the sport to grow and knowing the size of deals seemed like a logical place to start. When another low 30s superstar, Robinson Cano, signed with the Seattle Mariners last month, everyone in the world knew it was 10-years, $240 million. Why shouldn’t that be the case in track and field? Did Brooks overpay? Did Nike try to lowball him, etc? Those types of conversations are interesting.

    So we asked Nick if there was anything he could say about his contract, how long is it for and how much is it for. His reply:

    Well we have NDAs. I personally wish we didn’t have NDAs and that athletes could talk more openly about their contracts but I do understand the reason for having them. The contract I’m currently under does have an NDA so I can’t talk specifics but they have committed to helping me along through 2016 and beyond and that was something I was really excited about, having a partnership that could take me well through the end of my career and into my future (post-running) career as well.

    2) Symmond did reveal Nike did make Symmonds an offer that was similar to Brooks financially, but Nick really is looking forward to having an impact at Brooks – “Just sitting in Eugene twiddling my thumbs waiting for Nike to call me – that was not satisfying for me”:

    I can say that I did received an offer from Nike. I can they offers were very similar in financial compensation and ultimately I chose to go with Brooks for a host of reasons but mainly because I feel like it’s a better match for my personality and the thing I want to accomplish the sport. Nike does have a history of dropping athletes right at the top of their game – Leo Manzano, Meb Keflezighi and some others. I like to think about Meb as I make this transition and all of the success he’s had with Skechers and what he’s been able to do for that brand since he left Nike. If he was with Nike, he’d have been just another list on their roster and he wouldn’t have done all of those cool things that he’s been able to do with Skechers and that’s what I want to do with Brooks.

    I want to have this awesome symbiotic relationship where I give them more brand awareness and they help me grow my brand, and we just work really well together. Just in the last two hours since I’ve signed this contract, I’ve had meetings with apparel, I’ve had meetings with spike development, meetings with the PR/social media team and that’s what I get excited about – being at the ground level and working all of these different angles.

    Just sitting in Eugene twiddling my thumbs waiting for Nike to call me – that was not satisfying for me.

    Later Symmonds revealed, he also talked to some other companies but having a team setting was key.

    I really do enjoy training by myself, but there are times of the year, especially at altitude and when sharpening up before a big meet that I really do need teammates and that was big part of the consideration as why I went with Brooks. I was looking at some other companies – Reebok/New Balance – they are great companies and have great products as well, but they didn’t have the team atmosphere and I knew there would be times during the year when I really needed to rely on my teammates and that’s why I wanted to come with Brooks, because they have the Brooks Beasts.

    3) Read point #2 again. Symmonds really is excited to have a say at Brooks. Case in point, Symmonds is on a first name basis with the Brooks CEO.

    Nick Symmonds is now with Brooks

    Nick Symmonds is now with Brooks

    My personality has never been about what’s cool and hip. That doesn’t mean a lot to me.

    Williamette University – a D3 (School) – wasn’t a cool, hip choice but it matched my personality and allowed me to accomplish the goals I wanted to accomplish. When I came here in November and met with the Brooks staff, I felt the same feeling. They don’t have the same, cool hip factor – they don’t have a Lebron James or some of those athletes that make Nike what Nike – but what they do have is a really awesome team here of 100 plus employees that are all working together to provide the best running experience possible, and their products are phenomenal – the CEO Jim (Weber) is phenomenal. Sitting down with him was phenomenal.

    As someone who likes to have a lot of control goes on in my life, Brooks is the right match for me. With Nike, I was kind of felt like they rented out the advertising space ( on my bib) and were just happy to have me on the list but they never really wanted my input on anything and that was frustrating as a guy who is trying to run a business.

    4) What Would Mark Rowland Do? Symmonds will ask himself that as he moves on without his beloved coach, who also was a dear friend. That being said, Symmonds has for a long time been driving “the bus in terms of scheduling my week.”

    Rowland and I accomplished a lot together. I still feel he’s one of the best middle distance coaches in the world.

    And we had a relationship that went beyond coach-athlete. We were really good friends and we are going to continue to be really good friends. (But) ever since the days of Frank Gagliano I’ve really kind of driven the bus in terms of scheduling out my week. The way my week is currently scheduled training wise comes from Frank Gagliano. My lifting program is still going to come from Jimmy Radcliffe (the Oregon strength coach). I have years and years of lifts from him and Mark and I are going to continue to be friends.

    When I look at my training, I’m going to go back to the five years of training logs that I have and say ok, “What would Mark have me do today?” And now being able to in a new factor – adding Danny Mackey in who has a fantastic background, very, very knowledgeable – maybe that last little bit five percent that takes me from being number two in the world two number one.

    5) Where will Symmonds live? Just as is the case with Nike – all over.

    Just due to the nature of my training, I kind of just bounce from training camp to training camp.Keeping things fresh and not stale and being inspired by my surroundings. I typically go to Mexico in January (Symmonds leaves on Sunday for a training trip with Leo Manzano) and I’ll be in Flagstaff once again in April.

    Typically I wouldn’t get back to Eugene until May 1st and I’d spend May and June in Eugene and now I’ll spend May and June in Seattle instead.

    I can’t have a permanent home in order to do my job to the best of my abilities. I have to have altitude . I have to have warm weather (Symmonds spends a lot of time in the Los Angeles area where his sister lives). But when I’m preparing for a championships, I have to have a team and the resources I need and Seattle is going to be a great fit for that.

    6) Symmonds if very thankful to have a good deal and is very glad he consciously moved outside his shell to build the Nick Symmonds brand a few years ago.

    We asked Symmonds if he was appreciative of the fact that he’s got a nice deal whereas his training buddy, Leo Manzano, has no deal but an Olympic medal.

    You look at Leo’s situation and I just shake my head and say, “How are we going to have a professional sport in the future if a guy like Leo Manzano can’t even get a deal?” It makes me sick and I am very, very concerned about the future of professional track and field.

    When I think about myself, I am just incredible lucky that I’m going to be able to finish out my career with a great contract and with great people around me to support me along the way. It could have been a lot worse if I hadn’t taken things into my own hands a few years back and really made a concerted effort to build my brand and connect with my fans and put myself out there a little bit more, I very, very easily could have found myself in the same position that Leo finds himself in right now.

    7) Nick Symmonds said building his own personal brand wasn’t easy to do as he’s naturally a private person.

    After hearing Nick talk about building his personal brand, we asked Nick if he at the time was consciously building his brand or if was just his personality to be outgoing, and who wouldn’t want to go on a date with Paris Hilton. We were surprised by his response:

    My personality is to be very private. I’m most happy when I’m up on in my cabin fishing. I really had to come out of my comfort zone to hire a publicist and really try to work on building my brand, but I knew that’s what the job is, that’s how you get paid in this sport. And if I’m going to do it, I wanted to do it as well as I could.

    It’s been challenging and I had to come out of my comfort zone a couple of times. The Paris Hilton thing was fun. The book I have coming out later this year goes into detail (about that). It’s a tough way to make a living but also a fun way if you do it right.

    8) Symmonds thinks he’ll train in the Brooks Ravenna.

    I’ve had the chance to try on a bunch of shoes.I’m currently training in the Ravenna which is a fantastic shoe. I was running around this morning just thinking, “This is the shoe that’s would be perfect for me for three years.”

    I’m going to have a little say as to how we proceed with spikes and other footwear but they’ve got a great line-up so I feel really well taken care of here.

    9) Symmonds endorses the high quality of’s journalism

    We interviewed Symmonds at 2:45 pm – just 1:45 after the announcement by Brooks was made and 1:45 after our article – Nick Symmonds Signs With Brooks: 4 Quick Thoughts About Symmonds’ Move - appeared on LetsRun (the Brooks people had told us ahead of time an announcement was coming so we wrote that in advance). In that short time frame, Symmonds had already read what he had to say about the move and he liked what he read.

    I read your guys write-up today. I thought it was a really good write-up and you posted it there yourself, you said, “Sometimes a change of scenery and a little freshness is not a bad thing especially for a guy who has been doing the same thing for seven or eight years now.” So I think this is the right move.

    Someone add us to this list.

    10) A Belated Happy 30th Birthday To Nick

    Nick turned 30 on December 30th and is just back from a family trip to Las Vegas. So in the last three days, he’s gone to Vegas, said good-bye to his 20s, said goodbye to Nike, and said hello to Brooks, a New Year, and his 30s. And he’s headed to Mexico on Sunday.

    That tires us out just thinking about it. As for turning 30, Nick seemed excited about the future. “It’s going to be a big decade,” said Symmonds.