Call it an appropriate coincidence. The small town of Leadville, Colorado, sits at 10,200 feet, and its nickname is “Cloud City” because of the high-altitude cloud cover that often blankets the community.
Recently, Colorado Mountain College established a cross-country team at its Leadville campus, the highest-altitude college campus in the country. The six-member CMC Eagles cross-country running team joined the National Junior College Athletic Association this year, which allows them to compete against NJCAA and NCAA teams.
First in line to partner with CMC Leadville’s cross-country team was On Inc., a young company providing performance running shoes and apparel. They produce cloud-inspired shoes with patented CloudTec technology.
“Colorado Mountain College is our very first collegiate partnership,” said Andrew Wheating, sports marketing specialist at On. “When I first heard from the head coach, Darren Brungardt, I knew this was going to be the perfect opportunity for On to get its feet wet on the collegiate level.
“It turns out, On and CMC are a lot alike,” Wheating said. “We’re young, hungry – and we live ‘On Clouds’ and in the mountains where terrain requires the best quality footwear.”
Rachel Pokrandt, vice president and campus dean for CMC Leadville and Chaffee County, noted that Leadville has a well-known history as a running mecca.
“The Leadville campus is thrilled to have On as a partner for our cross-country team,” she said. “Runners from all over the world dream of coming to Leadville to race in the Leadville Trail 100 run and race series, so there is no better place for students to start their collegiate running career and no better location for a world-class trail running brand like On to direct their support.”
On was founded in 2010 in Zurich, Switzerland. According to Wheating, On has been the fastest-growing running brand for three years in a row. On’s shoe and active clothing lines are now in 50 countries. Its United States base is in Portland, Ore.
“In addition to Colorado Mountain College, we support a number of individual elites around the globe as well as two professional post-collegiate teams in the U.S.,” said Wheating. “We choose to support authentic athletes who are not only inspirational in their sport but also in their character and life outside of running. We never sign someone just because they are fast.”
“We are honored to be a part of CMCs history, supporting their very first cross-country team and we look forward to growing with the program,” said Wheating.