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New Balance has announced that it has signed 2011 ITU world junior champion Lukas Verzbicas to a multi-year endorsement contract. The American will first compete as a Team New Balance Athlete at the Clermont Pan American Cup on March 1 in Clermont, Fla.
“We are thrilled to welcome Lukas into the Team New Balance family,” John Evans, Running Sports Marketing General Manager at New Balance, said in the announcement. “At New Balance we consider triathlon an extension of running and Lukas has strong roots within that sport. We look forward to working with him to achieve excellence within the U.S. but also on the world triathlon stage.”
As a young high school athlete Verzbicas was one of the best runners in the country, becoming only the fifth U.S. high school runner in history to run a sub-4 minute mile. He also won titles in several national meets including three at the 2011 New Balance Indoor Nationals as well as victories at the 2009 and 2010 Foot Locker Cross Country Championships. He still holds the high school national record in the two-mile run. In August 2012, Verzbicas suffered severe injuries to his spinal cord after crashing into a barrier during a bike training exercise, requiring multiple surgeries to fix. As a result doctors told Lukas he may never walk, let alone run again. Defying the odds, he is once again in full triathlon training in Chula Vista, Calif. near the U.S. Olympic Training Center.
“After being told I would never walk again it is a dream come true to have the support of a powerhouse running brand like New Balance,” Verzbicas said in the press release. “After meeting with and talking to Team New Balance athletes I look forward to achieving my athletic goals with a brand that feels like an extension of my own family.”