New Balance announced a sponsorship agreement with the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) that will ensure area runners, joggers and walkers have clear running paths along the Charles River during the 2009-2010 winter season.

The partnership, put into place less than four months before the Boston Marathon, is designed to allow those seeking to get into shape, train for the Boston Marathon, or take a leisurely winter stroll, the option of doing so outside.  

Under the agreement, New Balance, recognizing DCR's commitment to outdoor enthusiasts in a challenging economy, has pledged to provide funding to support snow removal efforts along the 17-plus mile Charles River path spanning from the Museum of Science area in Cambridge to the Galen Street Bridge in Watertown. The snow removal will be performed by DCR with in 24 hours of the completion of a storm. Because the route runs in close proximity to the river bank, there is limited salting and sanding that can be performed, so the DCR and New Balance urge runners to continue to use caution.  

“New Balance has always been appreciative of the DCR's efforts to ke ep the Charles River clear for recreation and we want to ensure that lev el of performance continues even given the current economic climate,”said New Balance CEO Rob DeMartini. “Outdoor recreation is vital this time of year with so many athletes training for the Boston Marathon. We want to help provide area fitness enthusiasts, both serious and casual, the best terrain along the Charles River.”

New Balance will host consumer events along the path during the winter where the company will showcase new products, provide giveaways, and interact with area athletes.

“We would like to thank New Balance for their support in funding the removal of snow along the Charles River,” DCR Commissioner Rick Sullivan said. “With DCR's budget down 20 percent from the start of last fiscal year, we need to find new ways to engage public, private, and nonprofit partners to help us provide healthy outdoor recreation opportunities for Massachusetts citizens and visitors. Together, we can give the hundreds of people who use the Charles River path every day a better place to walk, run and enjoy all winter long.”

The New Balance sponsored clearing will begin with the next snowstorm this winter.