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Paul Chelimo leaves Nike, signs with Decathlon-owned brand Kiprun

American Olympic medallist Paul Chelimo announced on Thursday that he has signed with Kiprun, a French brand owned by the sports retailer Decathlon. He was previously sponsored by Nike, a relationship that dated back to 2018, but he will be sporting a new look as he moves forward with the rest of his season. 

Kiprun is not a big name in the North American running scene, likely due to the fact that Decathlon only has 15 stores across Canada (according to the retailer’s website) and none in the U.S. However, simply because it’s not a household name in Canada and the U.S. doesn’t mean it isn’t a good brand, and Chelimo clearly saw something in the company that he liked. 

As his agent, Riad Ouled, told LetsRun, a lot of different brands were after a partnership with Chelimo. “He had offers from Asics, from On, and Nike wanted to renew him. But the project from Kiprun touched something in him.” Ouled added that a big draw for Chelimo was Kiprun’s willingness to let him have a say in the development of future shoes. 

“He was very interested by … giving feedback,” Ouled said. “All of the brands offered him a lot of money, but Kiprun gave him consideration and said OK, we want to do shoes as you expect as a good runner.” Chelimo’s partnership with Kiprun is currently set to last until at least the 2028 Olympics.

The two-time Olympic 5,000m medallist is Kiprun’s biggest athlete signing to date, as the brand has yet to attract many big names in running. The brand could be in for some big growth in the coming years, however, as there are plans to launch the Kiprun 42 House, which will be a training group for promising Kenyan athletes.

Chelimo will make his debut as a Kiprun athlete at the Berlin Half Marathon on April 2. He has run one half-marathon in his career and owns a PB of 62:19. 

(03/24/2023) Views: 1,095 ⚡AMP
by Ben Snider-McGrath

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