Elite Trail Runner Adam Merry on Saucony’s sustainability efforts and making his sport more inclusive
Saucony’s athlete roster has long featured the biggest names in professional running, and last month the brand bolstered its stable with the addition of an elite trail runner.
Adam Merry — a Golden, Colorado, resident of Monterey, Calif. — quickly built an impressive resume and ended his 2021 campaign with November’s top spot at the Run the Rock 50-miler in Oregon.
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While his accomplishments are remarkable, they are not the only thing that drives Merry. A multiracial man born to environmentally conscious parents, the decorated athlete is also invested in increasing BIPOC’s representation in trail running and sustainability.
Fresh off his first race of the season, January’s Tejas Trails Bandera 100k in Texas, Merry spoke with FN about Saucony’s values and his goals for 2022.
How has your multiracial past influenced your sporting career and your love of the outdoors?
“Everyone who presents non-whites presents themselves differently in the world. For example, my sister has the same mother and father, but she has a darker complexion skin tone, so I have a certain skin privilege. Some people say, “I wish I had your tan,” but my hair is in knots, so how people might perceive me changes depending on where I am. In fgeneral, I feel welcomed and included like another athlete when I run. But I’ve had experiences as a runner that are no different than other people of color, like people screaming [racial slurs] to me when they drive. What makes me excited about this moment in the trail is that there is an opportunity for brands and the community to stand up for what we want the community to be because the vast majority of people are supportive and inclusive.
Why was Saucony the right brand for you?
“Relationships are the foundation of successful endeavors, and the way Saucony approached me gave me a good feeling. They asked me to help launch the Endorphin Trail shoe last summer, an event reserved to the press at Chautauqua Park in Boulder, [Colo.]. I was there to talk about not only the Endorphin Trail but also on how to increase diversity and inclusivity in the sport and to be a diverse and competitive runner. I met some members of their team, including [head of PR] Sharon [Barbano], [who] made me feel so welcome. Then I got a better look at the products they work on and their commitment to using sustainable materials, which fits well with how I was raised.
What is your relationship with sustainable development?
“My dad worked as a general manager at a progressive landfill in California, the first in the state to have an anaerobic digester, and my mom worked at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, a conservation organization in California. What sustainability means to me is to partner, amplify and support brands that are making efforts like Saucony. Where we are with climate change, we need systems approaches to address these issues. Saucony, for example, works with companies that have a lot of fish by-products to make usable and highly functional clothing, which is a good thing.
What are your favorite running and training shoes?
“I’m a big fan of Saucony’s Pwrrun PB high performance foam. They use it in their high-end Endorphin Pro road marathon shoe, and they’ve incorporated it into trail running, which is exciting. I just ran the Bandera 100k in an Endorphin Edge type prototype. I’m a huge fan of the cushioning and energy return you get and how light they are. For training, I like to wear something heavier because I feel very lively on race days. I like the Endorphin Speed 2 Runshield – it’s basically the Endorphin Speed 2 but with weather resistant uppers. And I like the Exodus and Exodus Ultra coming out this year.
What is your racing program this year?
“I will be in Europe at some point. I had an amazing experience last year racing OCC [from Switzerland to France], part of the UTMB series in Chamonix, France. My main objective this year will be CCC, the UTMB 100k. It’s in August. Prior to that, I will opportunistically focus – depending on my fitness – on jumping into classic US races like Way Too Cool [in California].”
What are your goals for 2022?
“One of my biggest goals at this point in my career is to lead the Western States [in California], one of the most iconic races in the world. In the meantime, my goal is to prioritize joy in my race strategy, entering races that I am passionate about. If I do this, it will lead to success in my more objective goals. Might be nice to run somewhere I can’t wait to visit, maybe bring my wife, [Julianne]and have a fun experience after exploring the sites.”
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