EDITORS NOTE: 100 days from now the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games will be held in Seattle, Washington. This year the Brooks Running Company is sponsoring two elite runners ahead of the USA Games: Andy Bryant and Colleen Bryant. It will be fun to follow their progress and success at the Games.
Brooks Running Company today announces the sponsorship of two Special Olympics athletes, Andy Bryant and Colleen Bryant. The two standout runners bring years of experience, epic athletic achievements and a glass-half-full spirit to Brooks’ roster of elite athletes.
“We have always sought to sponsor the best athletes in the sport. In addition to an immense amount of athletic talent, Andy and Colleen are incredible sources of inspiration,” said Brooks Sports Marketing Manager Steve DeKoker. “We are so moved by them and their love for the run that we are expanding our athlete sponsorship program, paving the way to a more inclusive sponsorship model in the future.”
Andy Bryant began participating in Special Olympics in the assisted walk events at the age of 5. Today, Andy has qualified for and competed in the Boston Marathon eight times. He will run his ninth Boston and 30th marathon overall this April in the lead up to the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games. Andy also participated in the torch relay for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City and ran the torch across South Korea in the Special Olympics Law Enforcement Torch Final Leg ahead of the 2013 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Pyeongchang. Andy first ran the 10,000m in the Special Olympics Washington Summer Games in 2004 and has been undefeated in that event ever since. Andy lives and trains in Woodinville, Wash., and will compete for Team Washington in the 3,000- and 10,000-meter runs.
Colleen Bryant discovered running in middle school and began competing in sprints and field events during high school. While she was hesitant to attempt longer distances, a friend’s father-and current Special Olympics coach-guided her toward the 1,500-meter run and half marathon. Since then, Colleen has notched eight full marathons. Between 2011 and 2015, Colleen won two gold medals each year at the Special Olympics Washington Summer Games, first in the 3,000- and 5,000-meter runs. In 2014 and 2015, Colleen broadened her range and continued to dominate in the 1,500m and 5,000m. She took a year off in 2016 to run the Eugene Marathon, then came back in 2017 and competed against the men’s field in the 1,500m, just missing the podium, placing fourth. She took home gold in the women’s 5,000m. Colleen lives and trains in Edmonds, Wash., and will compete for Team Washington in the 10,000-meter run at the 2018 USA Games.
As part of their sponsorship, Andy and Colleen, who are not related, will receive coaching support from Brooks Beasts Head Coach Danny Mackey as well as access to the Beasts’ stable of support specialists including nutritionists, physical therapists and more. They will receive training and competition gear as well as travel and competition perks to support their racing careers before, during and after the 2018 USA Games. Sponsoring Andy and Colleen is part of Brooks’ newly enhanced athlete sponsorship model which will expand to include support for athletes who do not fit the traditional mold of elite runner but are in the top tier of athletic achievement and inspire others through their actions.
In addition to its support of Andy and Colleen, Brooks will cheer on all athletes at the 2018 USA Games through an interactive fan space, bring hundreds of volunteers to the USA Games, provide a free pair of Brooks running shoes to athletes participating in the Special Olympics Healthy Athletes Fit Feet program, and introduce a limited-edition 2018 Special Olympics USA Games performance running shoe designed in partnership with Andy and Colleen and a line of co-branded performance apparel. Launching May 15, a portion of each sale of the gear will be donated to the USA Games.
Learn more about Andy, Colleen and Brooks’ partnership with the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games at www.brooksrunning.com.