A few years ago I ran into my old track and cross country friend Tom Stambaugh. He was the kind of runner that you loved to hate! We were running a the 15k Minnesota Masters and my friend Tom had a bad day. He average just under 5 minutes per mile and took a dismal second place. His entire outfit was paid for.
He has been running in free shoes since high school.
So, what my point? If you can run a 15 k under 5 minutes per mile, than you can get sponsored by Nike, Adidas, or just about any decent shoe company.
Guess how many free shoes that I have received from sponsors? Zero. Zip. Nada. My mom bought me running shoes when I was broke and in college. That was after I quit the track team. She must have felt sorry for me.
My free shoe supply has been reduced to my 2 bare feet. I got a free pair of 5 Fingers at REI when I returned my ripped out Vibram 5 Fingers. I wonder if that counts? Maybe I can stretch the truth and impress my friends that I am sponsored by REI.