Zach Scheidt: Under Armour Ambassador

ZDS Headshot 10 sz 600I’m a 39-year-old “everyday” athlete who believes that staying in shape is one of the most important things I can do for my career, for my mental and physical health, and for the good of my most important relationships.

More than just a “weekend warrior” I set big challenges for myself, and accomplish those goals by staying in shape and working out throughout the week (as well as on the weekends).

I believe that my story resonates with normal non-professional athletes because I show that even as a busy businessman (with a demanding full-time career, and as the father of seven children), “I WILL” still dream big and achieve audacious goals!

I would love to use my growing personal platform to inspire others to achieve their own goals. And I would love for that story to include Under Armour — and how your gear and apparel is part of what drives me and enables me to “Protect This House” in ways that apply specifically to career-minded and family-minded athletes.

My Personal Reach

As a writer for Agora Financial, I have a very broad audience.

Currently, I have more than 55,000 paid readers to my investment newsletters. On top of that, my content its also regularly featured in Agora’s free newsletters which go out to more than 200,000 people on a daily basis.

While my focus is on investment income, I’ve worked hard to make sure that my writing is very personal. This helps me develop a stronger relationship with readers. So instead of providing just investment recommendations, I’m sharing my life, my family, and my experiences with my readers.

Much of my content uses personal stories to illustrate an investment point. And many of these personal stories are taken from fitness or athletic experiences.

For instance:

I have many more ideas of how to tie physical fitness and competition in with successful investing. Also, just mentioning that I’m traveling to an event, or running in a race, or training for a new goal… these types of discussions provide a perfect platform to mention Under Armour or to showcase the gear / apparel that I’m using.

Just this summer, I launched a personal website. The tagline for this site is “helping families build income so they can focus on what really matters

The “what really matters” part is exciting to me, because it allows me to tie back to what I’m doing personally that really matters – including exercise and spending time with my family. Having my own personal site also gives me more freedom and flexibility to talk about whatever is on my mind — without always having to tie that back to investing.

My Experience With UA Gear

I’m sure you can pull my records from online UA purchases I have made, and I’ve bought UA apparel from retail stores as well.

My favorite UA product right now is my UA SpeedForm Apollo Vent Running Shoes. I’m on my second pair right now and just ordered my third pair this week. (I log a lot of miles.)

These shoes are lighter than any running shoes I’ve owned in the past, and I have told many people that I believe these shoes were critical in my ability to train for last year’s Rock & Roll Marathon in Savannah.

When I was training for this same race in 2014, I got burned out on running. I think it had a lot to do with just overall exhaustion and not having good gear. But in 2015, the SpeedForm shoes helped increase my endurance largely because they are so light. With less weight to lift with each step, I can go farther without feeling exhausted. Plus, they’re very comfortable and the cushioning is very effective.

These days I always run with my ColdBlack running hats (I have a white one and a black one), and I have UA shirts and shorts that I wear as well.

Recently I got back into playing Basketball with the athletics department at a local college. I’m 6’4” and 200 pounds so I make a decent small forward. I bought the UA Jet Basketball Shoes and love the style. I’d love to get my hands on some Curry shoes at some point too.

This summer, my little brother had his first kid — a little boy. I bought a 3/6 month polo body suit and newborn basketball set too. LOVE that you guys also make kids clothes. That’s awesome from a family perspective.

I’m a long-time user of MapMyRun (I used it well before it was acquired by Under Armour). Right now I have a Fitbit that I use to track steps, but I would really like to get my hands on a HealthBox Fitness System and make the transition.

My Athletic Goals and Achievements

I grew up in a big family (6 brothers and 4 sisters), and so competition has been a big part of my entire life.

Basketball and distance running are the two sports I’ve stayed with throughout my life. Running in particular has been great for me in so many areas of life.

Relational – I have fond memories of teaching my younger siblings to run, and training them for the Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta GA. Two years ago, my brother challenged me to do a marathon with him and we had some incredible brother-to-brother talks while logging 12, 15, and 20-mile runs in preparation.

Creativity – As a newsletter writer, it’s my job to take subject matter that can be boring or difficult to understand – and make that content engaging and simple. Often, when I’m struggling with how to present an idea to readers, I leave my desk and head out for a run. By the time I get through the first few miles, I already have the next article blocked out and ready to go in my mind.

Productivity & Health – Running is an integral part of my high level of productivity (I write more content than any of my peers – while still allocating time to be a family man), and overall health. I can’t imagine how lethargic and common my writing would be if I didn’t have regular athletic workouts as part of my weekly routine.

In addition to running two marathons (the Rock & Roll Savannah Marathon 2014 & 2015), I’ve run quite a few half marathons and countless 10k’s. This year, I ran my 29th Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta – which is the largest 10k in the world with 60,000 participants.

I believe that next year (my 30th Peachtree) should be a great marketable event (more detail in the “upcoming events” section below).

As a 39-year-old, I can still dunk a basketball, although it’s not as pretty as it was when I was in college. My goal is to be able to dunk when I’m 50.

This year, I’m taking on a new challenge. I’m adding swimming and biking to my workouts with the goal of entering some triathlon events. Ultimately, I would like to do a half Ironman next year and then graduate to a full Ironman either in late 2017 or early 2018.

I think this entire training period as I build up to an Ironman could give us great material for a set of personal interest videos similar to what Hines Ward did when he completed an Ironman.

Except in my case, it wouldn’t be a “professional” athlete featured. Instead, it would be a regular guy just like you and me accomplishing this feat. That may reach an even broader market of normal people in their 30’s, 40’s and 50’s who could be inspired to set a goal and work hard to achieve it.

Upcoming Athletic Events

I’ve got a few events that are on my radar right now which could give us some good publicity and will give me some content to talk about in my newsletters:

Charles St. 12 – This is a UA sponsored event through the heart of Baltimore. My company (Agora Financial) is putting together a team and I’m planning on registering and running the race with the group.

Baltimore Running Festival Marathon – I believe this is a UA sponsored event as well – or at least UA is providing the t-shirts. Running this event in Baltimore would be a great chance to do some photo or video shoots in and around your HQ city.

Savannah Marathon – This will be my third Savannah marathon and I’d like to start a tradition of running this event. Each year, my siblings and I rent a house near Savannah and make a long weekend out of the event. It gives all of us a chance to not only compete, but also enjoy “grown up” time away from the kids and catch up on each other’s lives. that’s part of what being an athlete is all about!

Peachtree Road Race – The Peachtree is the largest 10k in the world, and has been running for 47 years straight. I first ran the Peachtree when I was 10 years old with my dad. This year will be my 30th Peachtree which is an exciting milestone.

I plan to get in touch with the Atlanta Journal & Constitution (who sponsors the race every year) as well as the Atlanta Track Club and encourage them to write a special interest story on me – an Atlanta native – who has made this race a tradition for three decades. The event should be a great springboard to be able to promote UA gear.

I would like to enter a wide variety of other events. And fortunately, my work is very flexible and would allow me to travel to many different events around the country and even around the world. Since I can write my articles from anywhere and simply have to meet my publishing deadlines, I could easily travel to any events that your team could use me at.

My Baltimore Connection

As I mentioned, I’m an employee of Agora Financial which is a publishing company headquartered in Baltimore. The office is in the Mount Vernon area.

As an employee, I travel to Baltimore often – typically every 4-6 weeks. So even though I live in a suburb of Atlanta, I’m in Baltimore all the time.

This would be helpful if I were an ambassador for Under Armour because it would be easy for me to be at your headquarters often and do any interviews, photo shoots, or events that are in town.

I love the city of Baltimore and have been coming to the city since I started writing for AF’s parent company in 2007. I have pictures of runs by the water from years ago, pictures of me and my wife by the Inner Harbor, pictures from the top of Federal Hill, and more.

Baltimore is part of my life, and I think that adds to my credibility as an Under Armour ambassador.

What’s In It For Me?

I’m sure you’re probably wondering what my “angle” is and why I’m reaching out to you with this idea. there are actually several reasons I think this relationship could be mutually beneficial to Under Armour and myself.

I’ve covered why I think I could be a good resource for UA already. Here’s why the relationship makes sense from my perspective…

Credibility — When I talk about athleticism, I can say that I’m actually “sponsored” by UA, or that I’m an official “ambassador” for the company. That helps me get my message out with more authority. And helps me do a better job of encouraging my readers to focus on what really matters.

Gear & Apparel — I would love to be able to try more of the excellent merchandise that UA produces. I think I could give you some excellent reviews on items that I already own, and if I could have some sort of merchandise allowance in exchange for being a UA ambassador that would be fantastic.

Events and Travel — To be an effective ambassador, it would make sense for me to compete in different events around the country and potentially around the world. I travel a good bit for business already, so I could look for events in cities where I’m visiting for work. But it would be nice if UA could send me to events (running races, triathlons, Ironman events etc.) which would help me better evangelize the UA brand at key sporting events.

I’m not requesting any money for being an ambassador. But I would love to be able to work directly with your team to provide an inspirational story that could encourage more people to get out and “Protect This House” with the excellent gear and apparel from Under Armour.

I look forward to hearing back from you soon!

Zach Scheidt