Tracksmith, the Boston -based running brand and specialty retailer, has added Olympic hopefuls Mary Cain and Nick Willis as full-time employees as part of a move that will spearhead a broad-based effort to support amateur runners.
As part of Tracksmith’s new model for athlete partnership, Cain and Willis will continue to train toward the 2021 Tokyo Olympics while working for the company as members of the marketing team driving new efforts around community building and athlete experience.
They will also represent Tracksmith in competition. The move reflects both Cain and Willis’ desire to establish a more sustainable lifestyle as elite athletes and Tracksmith’s commitment to upending the running industry status quo.
This partnership model is designed to remove the anxiety of performance incentives and free the athletes to focus on competition as one aspect of long-term career growth.
Cain is among the most decorated American middle-distance runners of her generation. After taking time away from the sport to finish her college education at Fordham University, Cain returns to running with a renewed sense of purpose to not only perform at the highest levels of the sport but to be an advocate for athlete mental health and women’s equality. Cain is currently training with the goal of competing at the U.S. Olympic Trials in 2021 in the 1500 meters. She will be the New York Community Manager for the brand.
“As I contemplated my next step as a runner, I knew I wanted to partner with a brand that aligned with my priorities as an athlete and an individual,” says Cain. “Tracksmith came to the table with an outside-the-box opportunity to join their team as both an athlete and employee, to pursue my dreams, contribute to a team and build a career. My goal is to demonstrate that you can have a happy, full life and run at your highest level.”
Four-time Olympian and New Zealander Willis joins Tracksmith as the next phase in his career. The miler, who won silver in the 1500 meters at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and bronze in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, is training for his final games and establishing his post-professional path. Based out of Ann Arbor, MI, he will be the Athlete Experience Manager for the brand, helping build programming for runners of all levels.
“Over the last Olympic cycle I’ve done a lot of thinking about how I want to continue with the sport,” said Willis. “I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have a long, healthy career as an elite runner, but I’m excited to add a new challenge within running to my life. It’s long been an ambition of mine to help enhance and grow our great sport, and I’m excited to join the Tracksmith team full-time to work on projects and platforms that will reach more amateur athletes.”
“There’s no doubt that Mary and Nick are tremendous athletes,” said Tracksmith founder and CEO, Matt Taylor. “But more than that, they’re well-rounded humans and advocates for change within our sport. They share our vision that running should be a cherished part of a full life. With this new model for partnership, we hope to provide Mary and Nick with the freedom and stability needed to succeed both as athletes and employees. Win or lose, professional or amateur, that’s something we can all learn from.”