Altra, a leader in performance footwear innovation, has finalized their 2021 Elite Ambassador Team with the addition of Ryan Montgomery and Justin Grunewald. They join an impressive collection of athletes who inspire communities to move naturally, amplify each other’s voices, and unite athletes of all kinds. Throughout the sponsorship, each of the 20 athletes represent Altra at events and on social media, share their unique experiences, and wear Altra footwear as they train for and compete in high caliber events. As prominent runners and athletes, their efforts match Altra’s vision to maximize human potential while overcoming obstacles and developing positive, inclusive, and supportive environments.
As one of the few openly gay athletes in ultrarunning, Montgomery seeks to create positive visibility and space for other LGTBQIA+ athletes and encourages them to feel comfortable in their own skin. Montgomery is preparing for a 100-mile race while coaching and empowering runners to go further than they thought possible. Completing his first marathon at 15, Montgomery has since broken the 13-hour mark for the 100-mile distance in the USATF 2019 National Championships, qualified for Team USA in the 2021 24-Hour Championships, and competed in a host of other mountainous races in Altra shoes.
“As a dynamic ultrarunner who loves running all terrains, I am excited to join Altra’s Elite Ambassador Team and have their support on the roads and trails and walking into client meetings,” said Montgomery. “I admire Altra’s company values and their commitment to positivity, diversity, and inclusion across the board.”
No stranger to overcoming obstacles, Grunewald lost his wife to a rare cancer and worked to overcome his grief through running and working with his nonprofit, Brave Like Gabe, which supports rare cancer research and empowers cancer patients to run on hope. With aspirations to be a 100-mile race expert, Altra’s technical footwear options provided Grunewald with the confidence he needed to descend steep mountainsides and achieve great distances. Grunewald set the Afton 50K and Wild Duluth 50K course records in addition to winning multiple, local Minnesota 50K races. He continues to set ambitious goals that push him to his limits and is currently training for the CCC of UTMB, one of the most prestigious races in the world.
“As I hope to transition into longer, bigger mountain races, I know Altra will support me in all my running aspirations,” Grunewald said. “Their shoes have carried me through rough terrain and devastating heartbreak; I’m confident they will continue to help me push my limits to go further and faster.”
Altra’s Elite Athlete Team is composed of inspirational athletes, including marathon runner and activist Jordan Daniel, who advocates for the injustices and struggles that impact Indigenous peoples and marginalized communities. Jordan is the most recent member of Altra’s women athletes who use their voices for positive change. She champions women alongside Altra Team members, Olympian Alysia Montaño, Olympian Kara Goucher, trail coach Kriste Peoples, podcast host Tina Muir, new mom and ultrarunner Amanda Basham, mental health advocate and ultrarunner Meredith Edwards, and Hall of Fame mountain biker Rebecca Rusch.
“We are so proud of our Elite team,” said Shanna Burnette, Head of Altra’s Global Community and Partnerships. “Each athlete fully embodies Altra’s values and has overcome boundaries while they continue to pursue their goals. Even in the face of adversity and trauma, each member is a light of hope in the running community and beyond. This is truly an inspiring group and we look forward to celebrating all they accomplish on and off the trails.”
For more information about Altra’s Elite Ambassador program and athlete, click here.
Altra was founded in the backroom of a small specialty running store in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah. Since the beginning, the goal has been to create innovative and purposeful running shoes that help people run more naturally. Altra’s unique platform includes a FootshapeTM design that allows toes to relax and spread out naturally, encouraging stability and natural running form. The Balanced Cushioning™ platform positions the heel and forefoot at an equal distance from the ground, cultivating optimal alignment, better form, and a low-impact landing. Altra is on a mission to unleash human potential by inspiring the world to move naturally. Be a part of our journey and follow along on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.