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Meet Andy Voggenthaler of Race Guards

Today we’d like to introduce you to Andy Voggenthaler.

Andy, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Race Guards is the only in-race first aid company in the country. Our team of medically trained Race Guards runs races from start to finish, alongside the race participants, providing first aid and medical support every step of the way. Race Guards was launched in 2012 at Finish Chelsea’s Run in San Diego.

Since then we have grown to support more than 60 races throughout the country and built a team of over 900 Race Guards. In San Diego, you will see our team at most races, including the La Jolla Half Marathon, San Diego Half Marathon, Carlsbad Marathon, Finish Chelsea’s Run and the AFC Half Marathon. Our team is easily identified by our jerseys, and runners have come to know us out on course.

Race Guards team members are medical professionals or endurance athletes trained in CPR, AED and First Aid. It is our goal to help runners make it to the finish line safely. We are always recruiting and training new team members!

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Race Guards was launched in 2012, and we were immediately embraced and supported by Race Directors in San Diego and in other markets. We quickly saw that our services were needed by races throughout the country and that our business model of growing market by market would be a success.

Race Guards is primarily funded by its sponsors and product sponsors, and we have aligned ourselves with great sponsors such as 3M and its FUTURO, Nexcare and ACE brand of products. While we are very thankful for the support of our sponsors, we are always looking for new sponsors and we are currently in a situation where we need additional sponsor funding to take us to the next level of our business and enable us to become the standard of care at races throughout the country. Race Guards is seeking regional and national sponsors and product partners.

Companies interested in reaching the athletic community in a unique and engaging sponsorship opportunity should reach out to Race Guards to learn more. We have been thrilled by the response we have received from the running community.

Race participants love Race Guards on the course with them. Medical professionals and endurance athletes are volunteering with Race Guards as a way to “give back” to the running community. It is very rewarding to see the number of volunteers who continue to join our teams every day!

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Race Guards – what should we know?
Race Guards is the only in-race first aid company in the country. There is no other company providing the in-race first aid support that we provide from start to finish at road races of all distances. We are also a very unique company in that we are a volunteer-based company — we are a team of people giving back to the running community.

Race Guards also provides incredible marketing and activation opportunities for its sponsors and partners. We are interacting with race participants at the race expos and at every step along the race course. Our sponsors partner with us because we help them sell their products and services, and we also show that they are a company committed to the health and well-being of athletes and their families.

We are very proud of all of the volunteers who have assisted thousands of runners. We are making a difference every time we are at a race.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
Our entire team of volunteers — 900 strong throughout the country — are all incredible athletes and we are very appreciative of their time and talent. In San Diego, I would like to recognize three people. First, our Medical Director, Dr. Laura Dowd. Dr. Dowd is at almost every West Coast event for Race Guards, and she also trains all of our volunteers in CPR, AED and First Aid.

Another important member of our team is Rich Heine. Rich can also be seen in the majority of our races, and he is our Expo Manager. Rich leads our team at the expos, educating runners on Race Guards and demonstrating the first aid products we think make a difference out on course. And finally, Janice Penrose, our Race Guards President who leads our sponsorship relations and marketing. Our team is amazing.

I would also like to thank our sponsors. 3M has been a great sponsor along with 2Toms anti-chafing products and Perform pain relief, from the makers of Biofreeze. We are also thankful to all of the race directors who have embraced Race Guards and integrated us into their medical plans. We work hard, and we appreciate the support we receive from race directors who know we are making a difference and ensuring their participants come back year after year for a great race experience.

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