With a growing stable of more than 70 international athletes from almost every continent, it’s the hand-picked group of North American athletes that are paving the way for an Olympic representation this summer for On, the world’s fastest growing sportswear company.
Rachel Cliff leads the pack after having a phenomenal 12 months competing abroad. Early last year, the 31-year-old broke the Canadian women’s marathon record at the Nagoya Women’s Marathon in Japan, competing in only her second marathon. If that wasn’t enough, in December, Cliff broke the Canadian record in the half marathon at the Sanyo Ladies’ Half Marathon in Okayama, Japan, by lowering her own record by two seconds. She’s now poised and confident to be called upon by her country to compete in the marathon at Tokyo 2020 for her first Olympic Games when the Canadian national team is selected in May.
Speaking about her most recent performance alongside Natasha Wodak, shortly after competing at the Houston Half-Marathon on January 19, Rachel commented: “I was proud to be part of yesterday’s race. Natasha and I were up front together during the first 15k with some of the top American runners. It’s great to have two Canadian contenders performing side by side. Natasha had a great race and it’s exciting to see the Canadian record moving forward. I’m happy with how consistent I’ve been but I’m ready to go under 70-minute mark as well. I know I can perform a lot better.”
On ZAP Endurance gave a spectacular performance over the weekend at the U.S Olympic Marathon Trials, with two team members finishing within the top 20, among a field of hundreds of competitors in Atlanta. Tyler Pennel and Josh Izewski finished 11th and 17th respectively, with Pennel establishing a personal best time of 2:12:34. Fellow team members Tristin Van Ord came in 52nd and Joe Stilin finished 107th.
On ZAP Endurance put forward nine athletes at the Olympic Marathon Trial race in Atlanta – the most number of individuals the group has ever had on the starting line for an Olympic trial since the inception of ZAP 18 years ago. Starting in February, their sponsor and partner, On, released an immensely popular four out of a five-episode series to chronicle every step of their journey and training each week—documenting their undying attempt to fulfill an Olympic dream for the first time. To commemorate the group’s powerhouse performance over the weekend, On will be releasing Episode 5, the “series finale,” this Thursday, March 5th, as a culmination of their year-long journey. To-date, the combined viewership of the “Chasing Tokyo” docu-series has reached more than 2.1 million on Youtube, with Episode 1 generating more than 400,300 views alone.
On ZAP Endurance is a non-profit training center for post-collegiate, Olympic hopeful distance runners. ZAP athletes live and train together in Boone, a small town in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains. The On ZAP Endurance founders, the late Andy Palmer and his wife Zika, developed the program as a way to give back to distance running – a sport that played a significant role in both their lives. The team’s goal is to develop World Class American distance runners by providing them with support that allows them to train like Olympians.
Since 2002, ZAP athletes have seen success on every level and in every event from the 1,500m to the Marathon including: 37 Olympic Trials qualifiers; 6 World Cross-Country team members; 2 World Track and Field Championship qualifiers in the Marathon, and 4 Club Cross Country national team titles. In December 2018, ZAP brought five athletes to the USATF Marathon Championships. All five qualified for the 2020 Olympic Trials, and two of the team were in the front pack, securing 3rd and 4th place.
“The beginning of 2019 marked a watershed moment in ZAP’s history,” says Olivier Bernhard, co-founder of On. “We entered into an exciting new partnership with On ZAP Endurance and we have eagerly embraced their story of positive progress and success. Their resident team has trained hard, fought through injuries and supported each other as they have pushed themselves toward their goals with great resilience.”
On ZAP Endurance, formerly known as Zap Fitness, partnered with On in 2019. The group of nine athletes representing On ZAP Endurance at the Olympic Marathon Trials in Atlanta included: Tyler Pennel, Joe Stilin, Andrew Colley, Johnny Crain, Tristin Van Ord, Matt McClintock, Joanna Thompson, Josh Izewski and Nicole DiMercurio.
On recently announced its new partnership with global tennis icon Roger Federer, who has joined the company as an entrepreneur. Roger will use his unique experience to help take product development, marketing and fan experiences to new levels for the Swiss sports company.
Enjoy the first and most popular episode of “Chasing Tokyo” below and continue watching the entire series here.