Runner’s World Stretches the Limits of Brand Extension

1505L.jpgRodale’s Men’s Health, led by the unstoppable force that is David Zinczenko, is arguably the most successful “magabrand” in magazinedom (and it boasts the books to prove it).

Runner’s World is trying to catch up. The magazine partnered with Jet Blue to launch Welcomerunners.com, a site featuring tips and tools for marathon training. There are maps of running routes around marathon cities, weekly tips and a “Training Center.” You can also, of course, purchase a Jet Blue ticket, although the Runner’s World branding is notably limited. The site will also have an offline presence at marathons nationwide:

Runner’s World and JetBlue will sponsor marathon weekend seminars Runner’s World editors, along with running celebrities and industry experts, will deliver daily panels on running’s best practices, pre/post race strategies and post-race travel tips. Seminars will be held in JetBlue branded venues, each recreating the comfortable and entertaining in-flight JetBlue customer experience.

We understand why Runner’s World readers would want marathon tips, but what does air travel have to do with anything? “The ever-growing synergy between runners and travel is at an all-time high,” Runner’s World‘s vice president and publishing director, Andrew Hersam said in a release.

Um, what? We’re all for brand extension, but this a (hamstring) stretch. We at FishbowlNY enjoy running, even occasionally going to the NYSC across the street during work hours to jog out boa-related stress. We have never, however, thought to ourselves “Boy, we sure wish we could run somewhere else. Onward to JFK.” When we think of air travel and running, we think sprinting to the gate because we spent too much time drinking whiskey at the airport bar. But maybe that’s just us.