Saucony’s athlete roster has long been stacked with professional running’s biggest names, and last month, the brand bolstered its stable with the addition of an elite trail runner.
Adam Merry — a Golden, Colo., resident from Monterey, Calif. — has quickly built an impressive resumé and ended his 2021 campaign with November’s first-place finish at the Run the Rock 50-miler in Oregon.
While his accomplishments are notable, they’re not solely what drives Merry. A multiracial man who is born of eco-conscious parents, the decorated athlete is equally invested in increasing BIPOC representation in trail running and sustainability.
Fresh off his first race of the season, January’s Tejas Trails Bandera 100k in Texas, Merry spoke with FN about Saucony’s values and his goals for 2022.
How has your multiracial background impacted your athletic career and love of the outdoors?
“Everyone non-white presenting shows up in the world differently. For example, my sister has the same mom and dad, but she has a darker skin tone, so I have some amount of skin privilege. Some people say, ‘I wish I had your tan,’ but then my hair is kinked, so how people might perceive me changes depending on where I am. Generally speaking, I feel welcomed and included as another athlete when I’m racing. But I’ve had experiences as a runner that are no different than other people of color, like people yelling [racial slurs] at me when they’re driving. What makes me excited about this moment in trail running is there’s an opportunity for brands and the community to stand up for what we want the community to be because the vast majority of folks are supportive and inclusive.”
Why was Saucony the right brand for you?
“Relationships are the foundation for successful endeavors, and the way Saucony approached me gave me a good feeling. They reached out to have me help launch the Endorphin Trail shoe last summer, a press-only event in Chautauqua Park in Boulder, [Colo.]. I was there to speak not only about the Endorphin Trail but also about how to increase diversity and inclusivity in the sport and being a competitive diverse runner. I met a couple members of their team, including [head of PR] Sharon [Barbano], [who] made me feel so welcome. Then, I got more insight into products they’re working on and their commitment to using sustainable materials, which aligns well with the way I was raised.”
What is your relationship with sustainability?
“My dad worked as a GM at a progressive landfill in California that is the first in the state to have an anaerobic digester, and my mom worked at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, a conservation organization in California. What sustainability means to me is partnering with, amplifying and supporting brands making efforts like Saucony. Where we’re at with climate change, we need systemic approaches to solve these problems. Saucony, for example, works with companies that have a large amount of byproduct from fishery to make usable and highly functional apparel, which is a cool thing.”
What are your go-to race and training shoes?
“I’m a huge fan of Saucony’s high-performance Pwrrun PB foam. They use it in their high-end Endorphin Pro road marathoning shoe, and they’ve brought that into trail, which is exciting. I just raced the Bandera 100k in an Endorphin Edge-like prototype. I’m a huge fan of the cushioning and energy return you get and how light they are. For training, I like to wear something heavier because I feel extra snappy on race days. I like the Endorphin Speed 2 Runshield — it’s basically the Endorphin Speed 2 but with weather-resistant uppers. And I like the Exodus and Exodus Ultra that’s coming out this year.”
What is your race schedule this year?
“I’ll be in Europe at some point. I had an amazing experience last year racing OCC [from Switzerland to France], part of the UTMB series in Chamonix, France. My main focus this year will be CCC, the 100k of the UTMB. That’s in August. Before then, I’ll focus opportunistically — based on where my fitness is at — on jumping into classic races in the U.S. like Way Too Cool [in California].”
What are your goals for 2022?
“One of my biggest goals at this point in my career is to run Western States [in California], one of the most iconic races in the world. In the meantime, my goal is to prioritize joy in my running strategy, signing up for races I’m excited about. If I do that, it will lead to success in my more objective goals. It might be nice to race in a location I’m excited to visit, maybe bring my wife, [Julianne], and have a fun experience after exploring the sights.”