To the HOKA NAZ Elite fans,
I’ve got some news for you today. And it may sound like bad news at first but it’s really not. It’s actually great news.
Friday’s Minnesota Mile will be Craig Lutz’ final race in a HOKA NAZ Elite uniform.
For those who don’t know, Craig has spent the last several months as an intern at HOKA ONE ONE headquarters in Goleta, Calif. The cool thing is that internship came as a direct result of the hard work and creativity he had shown as a HOKA NAZ Elite athlete. HOKA, as a brand, works closely with its sponsored athletes and takes an active role in the development of those athletes as brand ambassadors. When an athlete shows the ability to connect with fans, HOKA will provide opportunities for that athlete to connect on a more personal level. Craig was invited to participate in a HOKA Postal Nationals event where, of course, he rocked it. He was also invited to a HOKA sales meeting where he ran (arguably as a ringer) in the corporate DMR and of course, his team won. HOKA and its marketing team got to see up close what I already knew–Craig Lutz brings the energy like few can.
Fast forward a bit to 2018 when HOKA worked it out and brought Craig on as an intern. He’s been able to learn the ins and outs of the business. They have allowed him to work in a variety of departments and given him the chance to prove himself in a number of different situations. And once again, of course, he crushed it. So as of this month, Craig will be moving forward with HOKA as a full-time employee and I couldn’t be more proud.
I remember my first conversation with Craig way back in 2015 when he was looking for a team to join out of college. I really wanted him. He was very fast of course but, even at his young age, he had shown an understanding that sharing his journey with the running public was important. Fortunately for us, we got him. Craig joined our team in the summer of 2015 and from day one he brought energy and excitement to the group. He also crushed workouts that fall!! Those workouts eventually led to a National Title in cross country in February of 2016. Injuries kept him out of the Olympic Trials but by 2017 he was back at it, setting big PRs at 3k (7:48) and 5k (13:36). Other highlights include a 13:51 road 5k, a 4th-place finish at the US 15k Champs, a win at the Newport 10k, a runner-up at the Cow Harbor 10k and of course- helping us win Clubs in 2015 in San Francisco.
And while those accomplishments are awesome, to me personally, Craig’s lasting legacy on this team will be his enthusiasm for the sport, for his teammates and for everything HOKA NAZ Elite stands for. I am so impressed that through his own efforts and through his willingness to share his personality with the running world (both on social media and in person) he was able to catch the eye of the HOKA marketing team–so much so that they wanted to bring him in for an internship with the brand. And it’s no surprise to me or to any of us that know him well, that they want to keep him around.
So thank you Craig. Thank you for buying in from day one. Thank you for being a team guy. Thank you for being selfless. Thank you for showing all of us that this really is a business, but it’s a fun business and one where good old fashioned hard work and creativity can lead to amazing things.
A Craig Lutz fan for life,