MILK Athletic Sponsorship seeks to close the gender gap

fOr for most of us, getting “sponsored” for an athletic event like a triathlon or half-marathon probably means asking our friends, family and colleagues to show their support with their donations by emailing them. A “sponsorship” usually does not involve a big brand, as it does for a professional athlete.

This marathon season, that is changing. Milk—as in, the dairy drink—launched a new campaign called 26.2 specifically to support female runners in the New York City Marathon on Nov. 6. If you’re a female runner, you can sign up to be “sponsored” by Milk, regardless of your speed or experience level. Look at you, big shot!

Milk will match your registration fee ($295) with a donation to the non-profit organization Girls on the Run, which helps educate and empower girls through running. (They are matching fees for total donations up to $600,000). Members of #TeamMilk will also have access to races, a fun section in competitions, educational preparation and recovery materials, and an online community.

The sponsorship campaign is one way that Milk (which is actually a trade consortium called The Milk Company of America) is trying to position itself as a performance drink. Chocolate milk has long been a recovery drink. And the nutrients, calories, protein and fat are all necessary to help fuel your body for the run, so the concept makes sense! (That is, if we can get past the iconic Anchorman The “milk was a bad choice” scenario. Oops, sorry, milk.)

But the organization also said it is campaigning to raise awareness around the sponsorship gap between male and female athletes. The pay gap in professional sports is well known, but Milk says that, according to Deloitte Insights, only 7 percent of the $30 billion spent globally on sponsorships goes to athletes.

America’s brands can certainly do better, and it looks like Milk wants to be at the front of the pack.

Whether you’re training for a marathon or running around the block, here are 10-minute mobility workouts to help get your legs ready to run.

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