We have a new logo! And new colors!! Check it all out and let us take you through where this new look came from, why we made the changes, and what it all means moving forward. Here goes:
The Evolution of the NAZ Elite Logo
2014: The original NAZ Elite Logo:
We have to start by going all the way back to 2014 and our original logo. This was before we signed our title sponsorship with HOKA, before we had won any National Titles, before we had an Olympian, etc. This was us trying to tell the running world who we were, and where we were from, via a logo that paid homage to the most recognizable piece of the Northern Arizona landscape–the Flagstaff Peaks. The blue and white colors were simple and, quite frankly, it was a simpler time. We had a giant chip on our shoulder each and every race and we went out there and got it done. Matt Llano ran our first race ever with this logo on the chest, on January 19, 2014 at the Aramco Houston Half Marathon…and he crushed it. His 1:01:47 was a massive personal best and one of the top 25 U.S. half-marathon marks ever at the time, and his fifth-place finish was the first of 11 top-5’s at U.S. Championships in that very first year of our existence. In fact, this logo was a part of two National Titles in that first year–with Amy Van Alstine winning the USATF Cross Country Championships in February and Kellyn Taylor winning the USATF 25k Champs in May.
Early 2015: The original HOKA NAZ Elite Logo:
For a very good reason, we had to change our logo in 2015 after we signed with HOKA in February of that year. We came up with a temporary logo that again highlighted Flagstaff’s San Fransisco Peaks while finding a way to incorporate HOKA into the overall design. Matt Llano and Scott Smith ran the USATF Marathon Championships with this logo but for the majority of 2015 our athletes ran in the same HOKA kits that all HOKA-sponsored athletes were wearing. In the meantime though, our do-everything Director of Operations, Jen Rosario, was working behind the scenes on a brand new logo, and a brand new uniform that was finally ready to be unveiled at the 2015 USATF Club Cross Country Championships.
2015-2021: The logo you’ve known & loved:
The Triangles! Not only did Jen crush it with a crisp, clean new logo that included the outline of the entire State of Arizona, but her singlet design was off the charts. The athletes headed to San Francisco for the Club Champs received the kits the week of the race and they…were…pumped. Each and every one of them did that jersey proud in Golden Gate Park with Amy Van Alstine and Rochelle Kanuho going 1-3 in the women’s race while the men went 3-11-16-17-23 to take home the team win in dominating fashion. Craig Lutz came back two months later and wore the same top when he won the 2016 USATF Cross Country title. The triangles remained on our jerseys throughout all of 2016 including at the Marathon Trials where Matt Llano and Kellyn Taylor both produced 6th-place finishes and the Track Trials where Scott Fauble (4th), Kellyn (4th), and Rochelle (7th) all finished in the top 10 at 10,000 meters.
Though we kept the same logo, the uniforms changed quite a few times from 2017 through 2021. At super hyped-up races like World Marathon Majors we would wear the HOKA global kits, while at National Championships, or smaller races, we would wear a specific NAZ kit. From 2017 through 2019 the team uni’s always featured some sort of red and blue design. Stephanie Bruce and Aliphine Tuliamuk each won two National Titles in them in 2018. “The Scotts” (Fauble and Smith) ran countless races in them, including multiple runner-up finishes at National Championships. Twenty-three of our 82 victories came in those jerseys over those two years, victories from athletes like Aaron Braun, Ben Bruce, Erin Clark, Matt Baxter, Dani Shanahan, and Alice Wright (to name a few). Tops on the list though, was one of our best performances ever, Kellyn Taylor’s 2:24:28 win at the 2018 Grandma’s Marathon.
In 2020 and 2021 we began wearing the HOKA global kits (blue/yellow in 2020 and orange/white in 2021) in all races, with “Northern Arizona Elite” on the right chest. That’s the uniform we wore at the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials where Aliphine Tuliamuk, Stephanie Bruce, and Kellyn Taylor went 1-6-8, at the Marathon Project where Scott and Scott both ran under 2:10, at the Track Trials where Lauren Paquette finished 7th in the 5,000, at Houston this year where Alice Wright debuted in 2:29, and the list goes on and on.
But all those things, as great as many of them were, are behind us now. It’s time to look forward! In many ways, the 2021 Olympic Games were the end of the first phase of NAZ Elite. The end of our infancy if you will. As we look toward the Paris Games in 2024 and eventually the Los Angeles Games in 2028, we want to kick off a new phase of our program with a new logo and new colors.
2022 and Beyond: Introducing the NEW HOKA NAZ Elite logo!
The shades of purple and orange are a call-out to the beautiful sunsets here in Flagstaff, Arizona. The letters, N.A.Z., in the shape of a mountain are a call-out to the Flagstaff Peaks and a call-back to our very first logo back in 2014. They are also in the shape of a triangle, a way to honor those classic HOKA NAZ Elite jerseys from 2015. Finally, you’ll notice that for the first time ever…we have a mascot! The pronghorn is native to Northern Arizona and just happens to be the world’s fastest endurance animal. The cheetah can go faster, up to 58 miles per hour, but the pronghorn, which can reach speeds of up to 53 miles per hour, can hold its top-end speed for much longer. It uses that endurance to outpace its pursuers, often coyotes and bobcats, in the same way that our athletes outlast their opponents.
This new logo, and these new colors, are our way of letting you, the fans, know that we are ready to crush these next several years. In addition to everyone on the team who was mentioned above, we have an incredible crop of young athletes like Tyler Day, Julia Griffey, Nick Hauger, Alex Masai, and Katie Wasserman who are ready to step up and become the core of our team. Just this week we have signed our very first NCAA National Champion, Wesley Kiptoo, who will no doubt raise the bar for our entire squad. And get ready–he’s not the last person we’re going to add to HOKA NAZ Elite this year (hint, hint). And, of course, all of this is for you guys. We are in the business of inspiration. Through our athletes, and their performances, their stories, their highs, and their lows, we aim to inspire runners of all ages and abilities all over the world.
So as Tyler Day would say, like only Tyler can, “LET’S GOOOO!”