We're excited to break the news here first, as Garmin today announces its sponsorship of American distance-running record-holders Deena Kastor and Ryan Hall as they prepare for marathons in Chicago and New York City, respectively. To honor these elite athletes’ pursuit of victory in these major world marathons, special limited-edition versions of Garmin’s new FR60 fitness watch will be available exclusively at the race expos and select retailers in those cities.
“Deena and Ryan have been training with Garmin devices for some time, and we are thrilled to see our relationship grow as they rely on Garmin technology to take on the world’s best,” said Stan Brajer, director of Garmin Fitness Sales and Marketing. “As our fitness division grows with products such as the innovative FR60, we have worked with top-tier runners, gold-medal coaches and Tour de France cyclists, and Deena and Ryan exemplify that excellence as true global ambassadors of the sport and our brand.”
As fans and fellow runners in Chicago and New York cheer Kastor and Hall, they’ll also get their first look at Garmin's sleek and stylish FR60, a fashionable wireless hub for fitness data, in new limited-edition colors - black and gray with a blue bezel for men, and pink and gray with a silver bezel for women. These new models come packaged with Garmin's premium soft-strap heart rate monitor and tiny SDM4 foot pod for tracking speed and distance indoors and out. The limited-edition colors will be available in Chicago at Garmin’s interactive retail store at 663 N. Michigan Avenue as well as Fleet Feet Sports, Naperville Running Co. and the marathon expo at McCormick Place Convention Center. During marathon weekend in New York, the new FR60 models can be found at Paragon Sports, NY Running Co., JackRabbit Sports and the race expo at Jacob Javits Convention Center. These FR60 bundles will then take a victory lap beyond Chicago and New York, coming to specialty fitness retailers for a limited time.
On Oct. 11 in Chicago, Kastor will be racing in her first marathon since injury forced her to withdraw early in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Marathon. The bronze medalist in the 2004 Athens Olympic Marathon and winner of the 2005 Chicago Marathon (2:21:25), Kastor currently owns the American women’s marathon record (2:19:36), an improvement on her previous record-setting mark at the 2003 London Marathon (2:21:16).
“Garmin makes an incredible product,” Kastor said, in giving a glimpse of how she uses her Forerunner in training. “I get a head start on Ryan for hard training runs and he tries to catch me. I usually look at my Garmin to see what pace I’m running or how much ground I have to cover in order to hold him off. I tease him right before I start by saying ‘Catch me if you can.’ Then, it is only my Garmin giving me information to fend him off. It is my secret weapon.”
After placing third in Boston in April (2:09:30), Hall is a favorite in his New York City Marathon debut on Nov. 1. In 2007, Hall won the men's Olympic Trials Marathon in New York, paving the way for his 10th-place finish in Beijing. He’s currently second all time on the American list with a personal best of 2:06:17 from the 2008 London Marathon.
“Garmin’s an essential part of my training,” said Hall, who holds the American half-marathon record of 59:43. “I spend a lot of time on the road, and I’ve done tempo runs in Africa where I’m on a long hill in the middle of nowhere, along the villages, and I look down and know my mile splits, I know my pace, I have all that stuff right there for me.”
The new waterproof, soft-strap heart rate monitor packaged with the limited-edition FR60 models is streamlined and more comfortable than ever. The entire strap is fabric and the sensors are like thin swatches of vinyl on the underside. The module that sends the data to FR60 and other compatible Garmin fitness devices snaps to the outside of the strap, satisfying the requests of runners who get chaffed at the mere thought of an extra anything against their skin.
The central element of the user-friendly FR60 system is an advanced fitness watch which interfaces wirelessly with other ANT+™ compatible fitness devices such as a heart rate monitor, a foot pod that monitors speed and distance or third-party fitness equipment at the gym or at home. While the FR60 processes much of the same data as its GPS-enabled predecessors, those functions are packaged in a very compact device the size of a typical fitness watch. FR60 comes with a wireless USB ANT™ Stick that plugs into the user’s PC or Mac and automatically downloads workout data stored on the watch to a personal computer. No cables are necessary as the FR60 quickly synchronizes with the computer once it is in close proximity. By using Garmin Connect, users can automatically log their workouts, track their totals, share workouts with coaches, friends and family and participate in an online fitness community with similar interests.
The men’s version of the FR60 weighs just 44 grams, the women’s model weighs 41 grams, and each has a user-replaceable battery with a one-year life. To learn more about FR60’s user-friendly features, watch the quick and informative FR60 tutorial videos at Garmin.com’s Learning Center. Embeddable versions for online reviews can be found at the GarminBlog channel on YouTube.