FLAGSTAFF, (AZ) – March 26, 2021 – HOKA ONE ONE Northern Arizona Elite has announced a multi-year partnership with Picky Bars, a performance and real food company headquartered in Bend, Oregon.
Picky Bars, co-founded by former professional endurance athletes Lauren Fleshman and Jesse Thomas, as well as current HOKA NAZ Elite star, Stephanie Bruce, produces gluten-, dairy-, soy- and GMO-free bars, granola and oatmeal, and earlier this month added Performance Pancakes to its lineup of Picky products.
HOKA NAZ Elite, launched in 2014, has quickly become one of the most successful, and most popular, professional distance running teams in the United States and across the globe. The team’s athletes have produced eight top-ten finishes at World Marathon Majors, taken home five international medals and won a grand total of 71 races including 12 national titles—most notably the 2020 U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon (won by Aliphine Tuliamuk).
Both Picky Bars and HOKA NAZ Elite have become known for much more than just great food and high-level performances, however. Fleshman, one of the most outspoken figures in the running industry, has long been a voice for fairness and equality in endurance sports. Thomas, the CEO, keeps the company’s fans updated on the Picky Bars blog—The Scoop—using a conversational tone not typically seen in the boardroom. The rest of the company follows suit, with a social media team just as likely to share a fun and inspiring story about one of its brand ambassadors giving back to his or her community as it is to boast about its newest product.
HOKA NAZ Elite athletes take a similar approach, sharing their journeys with their fans—from the highs of making the Olympic Games to the perhaps more relatable daily grind of life, including motherhood. Three of the team’s biggest stars: Bruce, Kellyn Taylor and Tuliamuk are all moms. Fans can follow the team and its athletes via social media, on the team’s website (where all of their training is shared), in its weekly e-newsletter, and on its podcast—Midday Treat with NAZ Elite.
HOKA NAZ Elite head coach Ben Rosario, whose relationship with Picky Bars goes back a full decade, said the company was an obvious fit as a partner.
“My first experience with Picky Bars was as a run-specialty retailer in my hometown of Saint Louis where our store (Big River Running Company) was in the first wave of retailers to carry the product,” Rosario said. “What I loved about the company then was what I still love about it today; it has this super fun vibe and yet you can tell that they work incredibly hard and believe wholeheartedly in their mission.”
Thomas is excited about the partnership, saying that both Picky Bars and HOKA NAZ Elite are authentic brands created by, and for runners, who tell their stories to their consumers and fans in a similar way.
“A multi-year partnership shows how committed we are to distance running as a target market and how much we want to support distance runners with our marketing dollars,” Thomas said. “Two years gives us time to activate and develop the relationship, allowing it to be more authentic and do more stuff, go deeper, with the team.”
As a way to kick off the new partnership, and in line with both companies’ desire to provide quality content for their fans, Picky Bars will be hosting a screening of A Time and a Place, a documentary film that follows the HOKA NAZ Elite team for the four months leading into last year’s Olympic Trials Marathon. The virtual screening will be available to fans across the globe starting Saturday, April 10, at 7am PST through Sunday, April 11, at 11pm PST. Tickets are now available to purchase at https://watch.showandtell.film/watch/pickyscreening. [Picky Clubbers can now purchase tickets for half off– check your inboxes for the exclusive link!]
About Northern Arizona Elite
HOKA ONE ONE Northern Arizona Elite is a professional sports organization whose mission is to recruit, develop and produce distance runners to compete at the very highest level of international athletics and operate as a successful business by building a global fan base for the team and its athletes through comprehensive and ongoing marketing efforts on a local, national and international level.
About Picky Bars
Picky Bars creates real-food products to “fuel the pursuit of life’s potential.” Founded in 2010 in the home kitchens of professional endurance athletes, Jesse Thomas, Lauren Fleshman, and Stephanie Rothstein Bruce, Picky Bars were created to provide a nutritionally balanced, real-food fuel option that is easy to digest and built for performance. Since then, the product line has expanded to include Performance Oatmeal, Granola, Pancakes, and a nut butter topping called Drizzle. Through wholesome products, great service, and some quirky humor, Picky Bars strives to support and inspire athletes of all levels to reach for their goals and live life to the fullest. All products are designed and tested on the trails around Picky HQ in Bend, Oregon.