SGB spoke with UA General Manager of Outdoor Topher Gaylord about designing running events at the ‘perfect confluence’ of running and the great outdoors.

Writer: Carly Terwilliger

Under Armour is hitting the road this summer with its inaugural UA Mountain Running Series in partnership with Powdr Adventure Lifestyle Co.

The performance footwear, apparel and equipment brand is heading to the peaks of Oregon, Vermont and Colorado because, Under Armour General Manager of Outdoor Topher Gaylord told SGB, “Trail running is the intersection of the running community and the outdoor community. It’s the perfect confluence.”

The idea of bringing together the running community in mountain resort locations is at the heart of the series. “A lot of trail races are ultra-distance. We think those are cool, but they can be intimidating,” said Gaylord. “We geared this race format toward people who are new to trail running but want to experience what it’s all about.”

Gaylord pointed to the growing popularity of trail running as one impetus for launching its race series, the first to come out of the partnership with Powdr. “There’s an insatiable demand for trail running events – which means more races – but most of them have small participation caps,” he commented. “And in a lot of locations, there’s not an opportunity for runners to get together as a community.”

So Under Armour selected three alluring resort destinations – Mt. Bachelor, Killington and Copper Mountain – to invite neophytes into the circle while tempting top-level runners to participate in the marquee events. “We’re going to use the three chosen locations as base camps and capture that energy of runners, youth culture, millennials.”

The UA Mountain Running Series comes on the heels of the brand launching its Horizon collection earlier this year. “The Horizon series are built for a precision and agile ride delivering runners confidence and speed across all types of trail terrain and conditions,” said Gaylord. Under Armour “partnered with Michelin to create the ultimate rubber compound to enhance traction control, agility and speed.” In addition, “The shoes have a precise, agile fit, which gives runners confidence as they’re flying into switchbacks and all type of terrain.”

The running series will kick off in July at Oregon’s Mt. Bachelor, continuing on to Killington in the Green Mountains of Vermont in August and concluding in September at Copper Mountain in Colorado, the highest-elevation destination at 12,313 ft. Each stop is designed to be “a running festival unto itself,” with each race course presenting “a truly unique trail running experience for participants of all levels.”

“We know that younger consumer is looking for a more lighthearted experience, not a suffer-fest in the backcountry,” said Gaylord. “We want to create an amazing, exceptional experience for the trail running community.”

Photo courtesy Under Armour